Angaleena Presley: ‘I’d Rather Make History Than Make Money’
Angaleena Presley knows plenty about country music -- and the women that are notably absent from the genre. The songstress was famously a part of the Pistol Annies trio, along with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe, before releasing her own 'American Middle Class' album late last year.
But while she, undoubtedly along with many other female artists, laments the lack of women on country radio today, Presley says that she isn't about to cater to the masses.
"The women may be making more interesting records, but that's not sustainable if we don't start getting paid," she tells the Nashville Scene. "The climate in the music industry has changed so much that you almost have to decide: Do you want to be an artist or do you want to be famous? If you don't compromise and don't follow the formula, you don't get paid.
"But it's worth it; I'd rather make history than make money," Presley adds. "It'd be nice to do both, and Miranda has figured it out. Kacey [Musgraves] has figured it out."
'American Middle Class' covers some of the more trying moments in Presley's own life, including her struggles as a single mother trying to make ends meet, as well as her experiences growing up in a mining town -- a far cry from the tailgates and bonfires that seem to dominate the airwaves these days.
"Some people sing about the party, and some people sing about throwing up the day after the party," she explains. "I think there's room for both; I gravitate to the dark side. I just wish there were more money on the dark side.
"It's not really a choice. I grew up in a hard-knocks way, and there wasn't anything glamorous about my childhood. I had a good mom and dad, but as far as having nice things, that's not what it was," Presley continues. "I'm from the mountains, and if you know about folk songs and bluegrass, it's all about murder and suicide. Maybe it's just my Scotch-Irish blood; maybe I'm genetically from the dark side of the mountain."
While the Kentucky native acknowledges that the busy schedules of all three Pistol Annies members mean a reunion is unlikely, she is grateful for her time with the group, especially in light of the success of artists like Musgraves and Brandy Clark.
"My reaction to the Kacey and Brandy Clark records was, 'Thank God, someone is getting some recognition doing what I want to do,'" Presley explains. "The Pistol Annies opened the door, and now a lot of people are coming through it. There's a community of strong-minded women in country music who are telling it like it is."
For now, Presley is proudly standing by her latest record, and most likely already planning a sophomore project with the same candor as 'American Middle Class.'
“It’s like my autobiography -- each of the songs is a chapter of my life. I’ve literally lived every minute of this record,” she says of the album. “My mama ain’t none too happy about me spreading my business around, but I have to do it. It’s the experience of my life from birth to now.”
Download 'American Middle Class' here.