Angaleena Presley on Women in Country Music: ‘The System Is Broken’
Angaleena Presley won't sit idly by as country music's females fall victim to country music's big machine. She feels that the system — country radio and that women struggle to find hits — is broken.
She explains her stance in an interview with Rolling Stone Country. "You can't fix things until you admit they are broken and on this record I am admitting I am broken. The system is broken," Presley, who is one-third of country trio Pistol Annies. with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe, admits. She calls out fellow female players like such Monroe, Kacey Musgraves and Sunny Sweeney who have been held back — or in some cases, chewed up and spit out — by country music.
The treatment of women in country music came fully to light during Tomatogate, a 2015 scandal in which a country radio consultant described songs by females as the "tomatoes" in a salad of country hits, with songs by men being the more crucial lettuce. He noted that programmers shouldn't play two songs by women back-to-back if they wanted high ratings.
Presley was at the vocal forefront then, too. "I'm not a tomato. I'm a hard-working, sophisticated woman," she said at the time, according to the Tennessean. "My mama didn't burn her bra for nothing. I'm here to stay."
"It's doesn't make sense. Making the decision to be the whistleblower for country radio lunacy is either going to sink me or allow me to fly," Presley furthers two years later, making herself known as a torch-carrier. "But at least I'll know I've been honest. Which is what I'm good at."
Her honesty is on full display on her new album Wrangled, which features 12 new songs all co-written by the star along with her Pistol Annies sisters Lambert and Monroe, Chris Stapleton and other prominent writers.
The album addresses her experiences trying to navigate the country music industry, including the discrimination against female artists and the Bro-Country trend taking over the genre. "I am really nice and passive, and I don't have the courage to be an outlaw," Presley says. "But I have the courage to tell the truth. If that lands me in the outlaw pile, then hell, I'll party with them all night long."
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