Pistol Annies Aren’t Blue About Songwriting Process for “Hell of a Holiday” Album

Written by Cindy Watts
Pistol Annies Aren’t Blue About Songwriting Process for “Hell of a Holiday” Album
Pistol Annies; Cover art courtesy of RCA

Nothing says Merry Christmas to a group of songwriters quite like the ease of penning a top-notch holiday tune on their lunch break. It was a scenario the women in Pistol Annies – Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley – experienced time and again while crafting their new Christmas album “Hell of a Holiday,” which is out now.

The women wrote 10 of the 13 songs on the album and were so honed in on the sound and style of the project that they didn’t write more songs than they needed to record. When they had an idea, they just sat down and wrote it – sometimes really fast.

The trio’s whimsical, twinkly “Snow Globe” was inspired by a saxophone instrumental on “Come On Christmas Time.” The women were already in the studio recording the album when the scene unfolded. Monroe says that as soon as she heard the saxophone, it gave her a “maxima smile.” When the song was over, she told Lambert the recording made her feel like she was “spinning around in a snow globe.”

“She was like, ‘We should have written a song called ‘Snow Globe,'” Monroe told People. “And I was like, ‘Oh, we should have.”

When the band went on their lunch break, Lambert and Monroe ducked into a side room that already had a keyboard set up to work on the song.

“And I think Miranda just started singing what is now the ‘Snow Globe’ melody,” Monroe says. “We wrote that on lunch break, 15 minutes in the studio, and that one was done.”

“Make You Blue” is another one that came faster than Santa down the chimney.   Lambert and Monroe wanted to write a song as a reminder to protect yourself from the holiday blues.  Monroe said one of her friends asked why no one had written a Christmas song called “Red and Green Make Me Blue,” and the idea was “too good to pass up.”

They told Presley they were going to duck into the alley during their lunch break and work on it.

“I mean, I thought they needed to take their medication because it was the end of the session and the thought of writing another song, I was like, ‘You girls have lost your minds,'” she said.

Lambert just wanted to head outside and “see what happens.”

“I was like, ‘Fine,'” Presley said begrudgingly. “We went out there, and I’m sitting there like huffing and puffing. And the next thing I know, there’s a line. And then I started getting more lines. And I was like, ‘Well, how about this?’ A few minutes later, we had a song. And it wasn’t just a dumb song. It was a really good song!” “We just got extra inspired when we got in the studio,” Monroe said. “So we went out there and baked in the sun. I thought the idea was so smart, and we just put our twist on it. It was a true Christmas miracle.”