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'
40
17/40

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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