Closing off my night at AmericanaFestUK 2017 was my main reason for coming in the first place – Angaleena Presley. I missed her the last time she was in the UK to my great misfortune and I could barely contain my excitement that I’d be getting a second chance when the line-up was announced. You could say that she was my highlight of the night before she’d even gone on!
And boy, did Angaleena not disappoint. Not just were her vocals absolutely stunning and on point, but Angaleena also truly embraced the, in effect, intention of a showcasing gig, by treating us to a selection of new tracks off her upcoming album. This album, Wrangled, by the way is her second full-length solo album and is out on April 21 via Mining Light Music/Thirty Tigers. You’ll want to preorder it – trust me – but it’s not available yet.
That being said, Angaleena kicked off her set with two fantastic tracks from her widely acclaimed first album – All I Ever Wanted and American Middle Class. These are deeply personal, gritty, and exceptionally enjoyable songs which are pages not just of Angaleena’s turbulent life but which also paint a picture of the state of the nation. I expect you’ll have heard them before so will leave it to your imagination how good they were live.
The next song, and the first of the second album, was probably my highlight of the set. Full of sass, Holler Annie definitely came to her fore here. It reminded me of Sunny Sweeney, for example, Backhanded Compliment, but with even more cheek and clever lyricism – not that knew that was possible! If you like Sunny, Brandy or Kacey, this will be your next favourite song. Look forward to these lyrics: You’d burn cinderella’s dress so you could feel like the hottest girl at the ball and the hook If you bless my heart, I’ll slap your face.
I Don’t Want To Be A Outlaw was the next fantastic track from the new album. This was a slower, heartfelt, ballad-esqe song that truly showed off Angaleena’s smooth and melancholic tone. If Surrender was one of your favourites off the first album, this will be up there from the new one.
On the 5th song, the audience got truly lucky. We were treated to a completely brand new song – she’d just finished it on the tour bus, so it was hot of the press indeed. Angaleena, with her refreshing honesty and integrity, explained she’d written it in response to the worrying developments in the States (e.g. Trump – yes, it was explicit!). It was a clever track that’s for sure and it warmed my liberal heart. The takeaway lyric was There ain’t enough freedom to go around.
The 6th and 7th songs were new tracks too. Especially the 7th song is the one already creating quite a lot of buzz around Angaleena’s new album. It’s garnering this buzz because it was co-written with Guy Clark, and was the last tune Clark finished before passing away in 2016. It’s called Cheer Up Little Darling and both the song itself and the delivery was extremely touching.
Unfortunately the 8th song was the last song Angaleena could fit in to the 35 minutes she’d been allocated. I was very pleased to find that she would close with my favourite song from her first album – Knocked Up. If you haven’t heard this – you simply have to. It’s country with capital letters and Angaleena has previously said that it’s “as true as it can possibly get”.
Overall then, it was an absolutely fantastic set. It was personal, emotional, funny, engaging and flawlessly delivered. I could only have wished for it be longer. Angeleena even stayed behind afterwards to say hi – as you can see in the picture!
Review written by Nathalie Larsen