The themes found on 'Hush Hush' -- the new single from the Pistol Annies' anticipated sophomore album 'Annie Up' -- work within the portrait of the hard luck, rural America that the trio of women painted on 'Hell on Heels.' One recognizes a few characters, but one element is missing:

Danger. Listening to 'Hush Hush' doesn't bring back feelings born by sneaking away to hear music you shouldn't be listening to as a child, late at night, perhaps under your pillow if you're old enough to have that kind of music player.

The new single tells the story of a dysfunctional family meeting for a family dinner. "My brother got out of rehab / Right around Christmas time / Mama made a turkey / Daddy was worried he was gonna have to break up a fight," Angaleena Presley sings to begin the song.

Each woman takes a verse before they come together for the catchy chorus:

"Hush, hush, don't you dare say a word / Hush, hush don't know the truth hurts / Hush, hush when push comes to shove it's best to keep it hush, hush." It's a good hook, although it's not clear who doesn't know about brother's addiction.

The songwriting is sharp. All three verses add color to a story that plays like Robert Earl Keen's 'Merry Christmas From the Family,' without the Christmas.

"We were sitting around the dinner table / And we were eating our pumpkin pie / When the sugar-coated pretty little secret was eating everybody alive," Miranda Lambert sings during her verse. "Well daddy's reading propaganda / And he's talking about the end of days / Well cheer to the vodka mama's been sneakin' / Let's all gather 'round and pray."

What's missing is a pebble of grit that makes the story feel uncomfortably real. This could be accomplished with more creative production. The 16-bar, bluesy shuffle seems a bit generic for a group with so much personality and talent.

Listen to Pistol Annies, 'Hush Hush'