40 Best Country Albums of 2014

The greatest statements from the year's outsiders, small town heroes and American middle class

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Angaleena Presley, 'American Middle Class'

17. Angaleena Presley, 'American Middle Class'

The debut LP by the Pistol Annies' wild card shows that supergroup has no weak links. Shaped by lean production flecked with country-soul and string-band touches, Presley's songs are steeped in memoir and paint scenes that ring with truth: there's supermarket-checkout-line philosophizing, a student bartending her way through college, an unplanned pregnancy, a drunk-ass husband and a trailer-court drug dealer keeping "pillbillies" high in a dry town. Presley is a no-bullshit coal-miner's daughter, probably enough to make Kentucky homegirl Loretta Lynn proud. W.H.

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