Country’s female supergroup
Pistol Annies headline songwriters festival at MACC
The platinum-selling Pistol Annies will make its Hawaii debut at the BMI Maui Songwriters Festival at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s A&B Amphitheater in Kahului. Featuring country superstar Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, the female supergroup just released their latest album, “Interstate Gospel,” which topped the Billboard Country Albums chart.
“The trio has lived a lot of life since their last project — two weddings, a divorce, a baby and another on the way — and all of this is showcased on the 14-track album,” noted SoundsLikeNashville. “Three women unafraid to lay it all out in the open, Pistol Annies once again prove why they are one of the genre’s most beloved acts.”
Lambert, Monroe and Presley collaborated on most of the songs on the widely acclaimed album.
“This band is so important to me and for female music and perspective,” Lambert told Country Music Television. “When there’s three of us, we can say whatever we want.”
Each member brings a different facet to the group. Because of her Texas roots, Lambert has the nickname “Lonestar Annie,” while Tennessee native Monroe goes by “Hippie Annie” and Presley is “Holler Annie,” because of the mountain hollows of Kentucky, where she attended school.
The trio performed at the 52nd annual Country Music Association Awards on Nov. 14, when Lambert was nominated for a number of trophies, including Female Vocalist of the Year.
The first country artist to see each of her five albums debut at the top of the Billboard charts, Lambert will headline the MACC show.
The Texas-born musician has sold millions of albums, won numerous awards, including two Grammys, and topped the country charts with memorable hits like “Mama’s Broken Heart,” “Kerosene,” “Automatic,” “Little Red Wagon” and “Gunpowder and Lead.”
Influenced by country greats like Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Guy Clark, Lambert is known for composing some of the most provocative songs to come out of Nashville in the last decade.
She has a fan in country legend Lynn who reported, “As long as Miranda’s singing, country music’s gonna be great.”
Lambert’s most recent recording, the platinum-selling double-disc, “The Weight of These Wings,” was hailed as a magnum opus by Rolling Stone. And PopMatters praised: “Lambert has delivered some of the best work of her career. ‘The Weight of These Wings’ is destined to be not only a classic country album, but is one of the best, most personal artistic statements by a major artist and public figure, done with class and grace.”
Other artists appearing at the festival include 2013 CMA Song of the Year winner Jessi Alexander, Grammy-winning Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson, Luke Combs (who just won New Artist of the Year at the CMA Awards), 2015 CMA Song of the Year winner Randy Houser, Lily Meola, multi-CMA Song of the Year winner Jon Randall, Tevana and The Warren Brothers.
Besides the MACC show, many of the musicians will kick off the festival tonight at Fleetwood’s on Front St. in Lahaina and at the Grand Wailea — A Waldorf Astoria Resort on Friday. The festival will benefit the MACC, the Dorvin and Betty Leis Charities, Inc. and the BMI Foundation.
• The Fleetwood’s on Front St. acoustic show at 8 tonight features Benson, Presley, Meola, Alexander, Randall and Houser. Tickets range from $60 to $225. For tickets and information, call 669-6425 or visit www.fleetwoodsonfrontst.com.
• The Grand Wailea Resort’s “How I Wrote That Song” show at 7 p.m. Friday in the Molokini Garden, features Combs, Monroe and The Warren Brothers. Tickets range from $65 to $125, and are available from www.mauisongwritersfestival.com.
We’ve seen Hawaiian legend Henry Kapono performing with his band and sometimes solo, and now we have an opportunity at 3 p.m. Sunday to enjoy his songs with the Maui Pops Orchestra at the MACC’s Castle Theater.
The concert will feature some of his most-loved songs, as well as many holiday favorites performed by the 50-plus-member orchestra under the baton of Music Director James Durham.
“It’s exciting,” says Kapono. “It’s like playing with a big band. An orchestra fills everything up. It’s challenging and it’s fun; you get to explore different avenues where your music can go. There will be a string arrangement of ‘Night Music’ — and that song expands with an orchestra. It’s going to be a mixture of C&K stuff, my stuff and Christmas songs.”
Highlights will also include orchestral arrangements by Matt Catingub of “Sunflower,” “Stand in the Light” and “Sailin’.” Kapono will join the orchestra, singing “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas” and “O Holy Night” among other Christmas favorites.
In September, he released the acclaimed collection, “The Songs of C&K,” recorded with a bunch of award-winning younger artists. Initially only available through branches of First Hawaiian Bank, it will now be widely available.
“It’s amazing, the bank sold all they had, and now it will go out to the public,” he says. “Songs with Kimie (Miner — “Highway in the Sun“) and Josh (Tatofi — “About You“) are getting a lot of airplay, as well as Alx (Kawakami — “Sunflower”).
This prolific Grammy-nominated artist has just released a new solo album, “Welcome 2 My Paradise,” which spotlights his talent across a range of genres from catchy rockers (“Long Train”) to Jawaiian tunes (“Everything”), and poignant ballads (“Love You Forever”).
“I actually finished it before ‘The Songs of C&K,’ “ Kapono notes. “It’s really about my travels and my love for the islands. I wrote a song called ‘Hello New York,’ which I wrote at the airport. I had a layover, and I wrote several of the songs at the airport in New York on my way to Amsterdam.”
The anthemic new song “America” will likely be a crowd pleaser.
“It’s a travel song about being at different places throughout my career,” he explains. “And ‘Long Train’ is about me being on this train for a long time, 40-something years, and it’s still running strong.”
On the lovely closing “Celebrate,” he offers gratitude for the gifts of life.
“It’s about being thankful for all the things that we take for granted like the earth, the sky and the ocean, celebrating it every day. We forget we live in paradise. When I travel, I get to come home and realize this is the place to be. The air smells good, and everything is technicolor. It’s amazing.”
• The “Holiday Pops” concert featuring Henry Kapono with the Maui Pops Orchestra will be at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the MACC’s Castle Theater. Tickets are $22, $35, $50 and $60 (plus applicable fees), and half-price for students 18 and younger with ID (except for $22 seats). For tickets or more information, visit the box office, call 242-7469 or go online to www.mauiarts.org.
Lei of Aloha, in its 12th year, is an annual holiday celebration featuring music, hula and poetry readings. It will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono, 2199 Kaho’okele St.
The open-house tour of the award-winning, historic bed and breakfast inn is a benefit for Kumu Hula Hokulani Holt’s Halau Pa’u O Hi’iaka. This year’s theme is “It’s A Wonderful Time of the Year.” The contemporary Hawaiian musical trio Ahumanu will release their new CD, “Kahi Aloha,” at the event.
Tickets are $40 for general admission, and are available by calling 264-1820.
Violinist Kendall Dean plays Fleetwood’s on Front St. at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Classically trained, she has performed as a solo act (violin, guitar and voice), and as part of duos and bands for the past 10 years.
As a child, she started out with classical violin, then moved into various fiddle styles with a primary focus on Irish and Scottish traditional music, studying with renowned Scottish fiddler Pete Clark.
As a solo artist, she covers blues, jazz, Irish, Scottish, gypsy, folk and country music, with songs by favorite artists like Bonnie Raitt, Sarah Jarosz, Carol King and James Taylor.
Dean released the five-song EP, “Howling,” this year. For more information, visit www.fleetwoods onfrontst.com or call 446-6795.