EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Pistol Annies’ Angaleena Presley

We just got off the phone with the lovely, and talented, Angaleena Presley of the Pistol Annies. The “Holler Annie” called us on her way to a meeting in Nashville, and answered some of their fans biggest questions: including what was the secret recording with T Bone, what sound track the girls are hoping to get on, and if we’ll see a Pistol Annies tour next year. We also discussed eloping and second marriages, Elvis, and if there’s a chance for a second single from “Hell On Heels.”

Read our exclusive interview below with the Pistol Annies’ brunette bombshell and see if you have what it takes to be an “Annie.”

Right off the bat… You girls were teasing everybody about being in the studio with T Bone. Is there another Pistol Annies record in the works?

No, not another Annies record. We got the opportunity to record a song – The Chieftains are doing a new record and they asked us to kind of do a guest spot on it. T Bone’s producing it and so we’re gonna be on the new Chieftains record! It’s actually a song that my mom used to sing to me when I was little. So it was really cool to get to do that and work with T Bone. And then, also, we are trying to get on The Hunger Games sound track. We cut a song, wrote a song, and are just kind of waiting and hoping that it makes it to the sound track, so. It was a really, really cool thing.

 I hope it turns out, that would be really cool.

Yeah, we all three just read the series and love it. We really want to be a part of it, so hopefully we will.

It’s on my wish list for Christmas, so hopefully..

You have to read it! It’s so good. It will take over your life, like in two weeks. It’s a great, great series.

So, has the success of the Pistol Annies been a surprise to you?

It really has. I mean, we tried to put this record out, you know without a lot of industry interference and kind of not didn’t know what was going to happen. People just really received it well, and we’re really proud. I mean, people just really loved it and appreciate the honesty, so. Our minds are blown, we don’t even….. you know. We didn’t know what to expect. We’ve far exceeded anything that we thought could happen.

You have kind of a cult following now with Miranda’s fans at her concerts..

Mm-hmm, yeah, it’s awesome to see those Annies signs, we love it. You know, we started going out with Miranda, probably, um.. when did we start? Last year sometime, well this year, but no one knew who we were and kind of scratched their heads when we came out on-stage. By the end of October, we had signs. People would be so loud that we would have to wait a second before we could start. It’s just been such a cool thing to be a part of and watch grow. It’s just really exciting.

Do you think there’s a chance we’ll get a second single from “Hell On Heels”?

Not sure. We’re talking about it and Miranda’s kind of out doing her thing right now for “Four The Record.” She kind of has to turn around and back into her, you know, turn back into Miranda Lambert for a while. She just put her record out, and she’s going to tour for the Winter and early Spring then we’ll be back out in May to do a bunch of festivals and stuff. In the meantime, we have three shows in December that are just Pistol Annies and we are pretty excited about that. We’re pretty excited about that, pretty excited. We’re gonna be performing on the Fox Awards. We got some pretty cool stuff coming up.

So, are you girls going to be going on tour next year with Miranda? Or are you thinking about doing an Annies tour?

We’re just gonna play it by ear. I know that we’ll be out on the Summer for the festivals and the fairs and stuff like that. Depending on how our shows go, we’ll kind of get an idea of what the fans think and just plan it from there.

If you could pick a single from the album, what would you pick?

Well, I’m a little biased but I would totally pick “Lemon Drop.” (laughs)

Well that’s my favorite song right now off of it!

Well thank you! (laughs) I wrote that song and just feel like, you know, a lot of women can relate to that song. Maybe even men can relate to it. It’s about just getting by and keeping the faith, and knowing that someday all this hard work is going to pay off. I like the message in that song.

So, speaking of that song, did you ever get your muffler fixed?

(laughs) You know I drove around with it like that for two months. No joke. It held on, then finally it fell off again. I think I was driving down Music Row and my guitar string broke and it fell off completely from the car. So, I had to finally take it in and get it fixed. But, yeah. It held out for quite some time.

 So where do you get your inspiration from when you’re writing?

You know, I get it from everywhere. I’ve always been an “outside looking in” kind of person. I felt like that in any situation I’m kind of floating above, soaking everything in. Even when I was a little girl, I was always trying to do that. Seeing how where I’m from, Beauty, Kentucky, it’s quite a place to grow up with that perspective because it’s such a real, you know, kind of harsh way to live. I think that I’m more of a people watcher, and I don’t know. I’m always observing everything down to the littlest detail so it could be a song – anything could be a song, you know. You just have to craft it the right way.

Would you feel that your background as a Kentucky girl has a big influence on your music?

Definitely. It’s a huge influence. My favorite songwriter is obviously Loretta Lynn; I grew up 20 minutes from where she grew up. My Dad’s a coal miner so I grew up listening to her records and loving her. Then, when I got older I realized she had written all these songs. Just, I wanted to tell my story the way that she did and hopefully I’m doing that now.

 Do you think we’ll be getting a solo album from you in the near future?

Oh definitely! I actually have a solo album finished and we’re just kind of trying to cut all the red tape around getting it out, so that’s’ definitely coming out sooner, sooner, sooner rather than later. So everybody be looking for it! If you like the Pistol Annies, you’re gonna like my music too because the common thread with us is honesty. I’m gonna be out there tellin’ the truth!

So what exactly does it take to be a Pistol Annie, and how did you end up with the nickname “Holler Annie”?

I’m nicknamed Holler Annie because of where I grew up. I grew up in the Holler, you know, I’m sheltered from the world in the mountains. I say what’s on my mind, and if you don’t like it then… find somebody else to talk to! (laughs). You know, that’s just kind of how we are, that’s where I’m from. Miranda nicknamed me “Holler Annie” just because of who I am. My mouth just doesn’t have a filter.

It takes a lot of alcohol, and it takes some guns and it takes.. some.. (laughs) you know, takes some women’s intuition, some high heels, red lipstick and a guitar. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

How did you meet Ashley and Miranda?

I met Ashley through songwriting here in Nashville. She had been around here for a while writing songs and trying to get her record out, and I was almost doing the same thing. Our publishers introduced us because they thought we had similar styles and would work well together. We did. We wrote a few songs and hung out, then Ashley introduced Miranda to my music through my website. Miranda was like “oh my gosh, who’s this girl? Call her!,” and they called me at two o’clock in the morning. Ashley’s like “you need to get out of bed and e-mail us your record, me and Miranda want to hear it!,” and I was like “Miranda who?” (laughs) “Miranda Lambert!” “oh, okay, here! I’ll do it!”

So I sent them my record and they kind of had a little slumber party to my record. Miranda asked me to hang out the next week, and that’s all she wrote. We were writing songs from the first ten minutes we were together.

So who would you consider to be your biggest influences as a writer and as an artist?

I would say Loretta Lynn, and that goes for all of us. We kind of always say that because, Miranda and Loretta have worked together and she’s just such a pioneer, as far as female songwriting and artistry, she’s kind of the triple threat. She has a great voice, a great writer, and a great performer. She speaks her mind and she knocked down a lot of doors for women in her time, and she’s still opening a lot of doors for us today. She’s telling us, you know, you can be brave and you can say what you want and you don’t have to conform to what the industry or whoever is telling you. Sometimes, people actually hear it (laughs) and like it!

I know all three of you are Elvis fans.. but if you had to pick between Johnny Cash or Elvis, who would you pick?

Well, we love Johnny Cash. We love him as a songwriter and as a performer, but man, who wouldn’t pick Elvis? (laughs) Pistol Annies and Elvis, could you imagine? Talk about fuuuun times!

You just released a duet with Kid Rock to radio, were you nervous about releasing something without the girls?

I did! I did! No, I was overjoyed. I’ve been in Nashville kind of working the grind for quite some time. I was excited when two worlds collide, you know, Kid Rock – who could have ever imagined this girl from Kentucky singing with this rap star and T.I. who is also on the song. We got to do the video not too long ago so I got to hang out with Kid Rock and T.I. all day! It was crazy but so much fun. And I love the song, I got to hear the song beforehand and I loved it and I love the message behind it, so yeah, I was excited.

Is there any song out on the radio right now that you wish you wrote?

Um… Yeah, let’s see. “Baggage Claim!” (laughing)

Okay, okay, any non-Miranda Lambert song?

(laughs) Um.. let’s see, out right now? I don’t know. You know, I got asked during award season that if I could go back in time and write one song what would it be and I instantly without thinking said “Strawberry Wine” because I think that is such an awesome classic example of country music at its finest that anybody can relate to. You know, the coming of age story. I just love that song, so, yeah.

Now, you’ve had an amazing year but what would you consider to be the coolest thing that’s happened to you this year?

Getting to work with T Bone was a huge deal to me. I’ve loved him just for so long. You know, I went to the kick-off tour for “Down From The Mountain” in Lexington, Kentucky and just loved what he did on “O Brother Where Art Thou?.” Getting to work with him was a dream of mine for fifteen years. So that’s probably one of the coolest things, and all my expectations it was everything and more. He was just a cool, cool guy.

Do you do anything to get ready for a show, or do the girls do anything that drives you crazy before a show?

(laughs) No, we usually get ready on the bus and we’ll listen to music. Somebody will have a new record that they will want to show. Or, they’ll, believe it or not, listen to Beyonce, listen to anything that gets us excited to play. We just get ready and we’re just sisters getting ready in the bedroom.

Pretty relaxed, then. Nothing rock star.

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Nothing rock star at all. We do our own hair and makeup, we pick out our own clothes. Nothing really that glamorous (laughs).

 So what would your family consider to be the best and worst part of your career?

The best part is that I’m getting to live my dream. I’ve loved music since the time I could talk and knew what music was. I think the best part of what I do for them is getting to see what I do for a living and you know, doing something that I love. The worst part is being away from home. I have a huge family in Kentucky. My Mom has eight brothers and sisters and my Dad has eight brothers and sisters. I have like a million cousins and they all still live there. The worst part is not getting to be there to be a part of that.

I know you’re getting married, how’s planning for the wedding going and do you have a date picked out yet?

No! We’re gonna elope. We are, you know, it’s my second marriage and it’s his second marriage and we had weddings the first time and we’re over it. We’re just going to wake up one morning and go to the mountains and get married. We don’t know when and we don’t know where, but we’re just going to wake up one morning and do it one day.

So nothing like Miranda and Blake..

Nothing like Miranda and Blake, no. (laughs).

Angaleena and her Pistol Annies will be performing December 5th on Fox’s American Country Awards. They also have a few small club shows in the California area in December as a group.

You can connect with Angaleena by:
Twitter.com/guitarleena
Twitter.com/pistolannies
Facebook.com/pistolannies
Facebook.com/angaleenapresley

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A 26 year-old Canadian girl currently living in England for a culinary career. Fell in love with country music and cooking at a young age, and looks for a way to do both.