Since 2015, many have rallied to change the conversation against women being compared to salad garnish.
Wrangled is Angaleena Presley’s full-flavored response to the forum. Her latest project took two years to craft, record and package from a lifetime of experience. Wrangled releases Friday (April 21).
The 12-track project was previewed at Nashville’s Springwater Supper Club & Lounge on Wednesday, April 19. The album displays both subdued moments and flashes of bold resolve. It is almost as if Presley is finally able to breathe easy after years of suffocation and opposition.
An eight-song, full band release party at the Nashville dive bar included the project’s bare, angsty and claustrophobic title track, dedicated to country radio. Lyrics read: “Bible says a woman ought to know her place/Mine’s out here in the middle of all of this wide open space/… I’d rather eat dirt than bake another prize winning cherry pie.”
“I tried to tackle uncomfortable realities like the discrimination against female artists at the height of bro-country, the high school mentality of Music Row and the pain that’s just beneath the surface of the road to stardom,” said Presley in a release.
The star’s plain-spoken accent pairs with her Kentucky sass on “Bless My Heart” and most directly on the rocker “Country,” featuring Yelawolf. The boldness of the latter title dwarfs any satire, if there was any, from Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song,” and is more akin to the nod Granger Smith delivers to the country stereotype in his Earl Dibbles Jr. alter ego.
“I was raised to respect my elders and authority figures no matter what they say or do to you,” said Presley, introducing the title. “I’ve taken no for an answer in this town so many times that I can’t even count on five hands. [“Country”] is my snap-moment. I don’t know how to say ‘No’ in real life, but I can tell someone off in a song.”
Those dynamics also extend to the suffocating “Dreams Don’t Come True” (written with Pistol Annie sisters Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe), the tethered depression of “Only Blood” (written with Chris Stapleton featuring vocals with Morgane Stapleton), the mesmerizing, swampy “Good Girl Down” (written with Wanda Jackson) and the self-soothing daze in “Cheer Up Little Darling” (written with Guy Clark, featuring the guitar styling of Shawn Camp).
“We’ve homemade [this album] in to a pretty decent record,” Presley said at Sweetwater about the Mining Light/Thirty Tigers project. “There are those few times I’ve been told ‘Yes’ [in this town]. Some of those people are in this crowd tonight, and I want to thank you for putting food on my table and letting me be a part of your world.”
Guests included those album contributors Camp, writers Monroe, Vanessa Olivarez, Trevor Thornton, Wrangled producer Oran Thornton, Thirty Tigers’ David Macias in addition to Hilary Williams, Mike Sistad, media and additional family and friends.
Presley’s manager Charlie Pierce began the evening with some critic quotes, which this article ends with.
“The best that country music has had to offer over the past 70 years,” No Depression (Amos Perrine).
“Angaleena Presley Doesn’t Need Nashville, but Nashville Needs Angaleena Presley,” Noisey’s headline (Kim Kelly)
“Stunning collection…Start saving your pennies now. This set is absolutely worth buying,” MusicRow’s (Robert K. Oermann).
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