By Annie Reuter
For Angaleena Presley, it took a gold record with her band the Pistol Annies to muster up the courage to finish and self-produce her own solo album. Seven years in the making, American Middle Class (out Oct. 14) shows the world who Presley really is.
“I got introduced to the world as Holler Annie with these two blondes beside me,” she tells Radio.com of her bandmates Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe. “I feel like I had to get in a band, make history and kick down a door so I could walk through it as a solo artist…I’m an older artist and I could sit there and be like, ‘Oh this should have happened.’ No. If it didn’t happen like this, you wouldn’t have had this story to write or this song that so many people connect with. I feel like everything happened the way it was supposed to happen for me.”
Presley has no trouble speaking her mind and American Middle Class makes that clear. On each of the 12 tracks, she gives an honest portrayal of her life covering the moments that others may want to forget. On “Drunk,” which Presley wrote with Sarah Siskind (who has written for Alison Krauss), she details the hurdles she faced during the “most horrific, tumultuous, part of my marriage,”
“I had gotten pregnant three months after knowing my ex-husband,” she recalls. “We were both wild, living the artist lifestyle and I got pregnant and I grew up and he really struggled with it. He just couldn’t do it. I went to write that day and I just started venting to [Siskind] because a lot of times writing appointments that’s like our therapy. We can’t really afford therapy at that stage in our career so we are literally each others’ therapists.”
This writing session had Presley venting about her no-good drunk ex with exact words from her complaint finding their way into the song.
“I’m in there and I’m going, ‘I don’t know. I’ve read all these books and I bought a nightgown.’ He was a drinker. He loved his beer and he just couldn’t figure out how to not do it,” she explains. “‘I buy the groceries, I wear my lipstick.’ And [Siskind’s] sitting there going, ‘You know that’s our song.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not writing a song, I just came here to talk.’”
While it felt good to get these things off her chest, Presley admits that she’s worried to play the song for her seven-year-old son being that it’s a “laundry list of how my marriage ended.”