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Pistol Annies’ Angaleena Presley On Songwriting

Pistol Annies’ Angaleena Presley On Songwriting

Angaleena Presley talks about songwriting and the 12 tracks she wrote or co-wrote on her debut CD ‘American Middle Class.’ Best known as a member of the trio “Pistol Annie’s,” she says the solo album is material focused on her life, her experiences, and her take on growing up as part of a hard-working, blue-collar family.

Who is she and how does she write songs?

In her own words . . .

On Her New Album


“The songs on ‘American Middle Class’ are like pages out of my diary, lyrical snapshots of the joy and pain of being a hard-working, blue collar citizen whose goal is to keep food on the table and dreams alive.”


How Does She Write Songs?


“I don’t write songs; they come from something way bigger than me. I feel more like a song catcher. My process is to always carry a pencil and notebook with me, and no matter what I’m doing, I brake for ideas. I learned this the hard way because I let a lot of them slip away.

Then, I’ll sit down every so often and piece everything together like a puzzle. On a really good, blessed day, I’ll feel compelled to pick up a guitar, and a whole song will effortlessly spill out.

Those are the gems.”


Tom T. Hall & The Nashville Library Are To Credit For Her Song Chops?

She found a book by Tom T. Hall in the Nasvhille library called Guide To Songwriting.


“He had a whole chapter on the extreme importance of editing. ‘If a word doesn’t add to the song, then get rid of it.’

When I write, I like clean lines (no pun intended) with concise but poignant content. I try to use words and phrases that really give me the biggest bang for my buck.

My goal is to create an emotional connection or response in the listener, and I only have three minutes to get it done. I try to make every word count.”


Where Does She Get Her Inspiration?


“I could literally write 100 songs about how the grass grows. I’m an observer. Always have been.  When my husband tells me to stop staring, I tell him to stop interrupting me while I’m working. I watch, I feel, I listen, I touch, I taste. It goes through my filter and comes out as a song. I don’t discriminate. My heart is open, and the muse is ever welcome.”


American Songwriter interview

“Ain’t No Man” single


Angaleena Presley: Making of ‘American Middle Class’



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