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Hear Angaleena Presley Nod to Merle Haggard With New Song

“Mama I Tried” puts an electrified, feminine twist on the theme of parental disappointment explored in the Hag’s 1968 classic

Merle Haggard may have let down his mother when he was sent to prison, but his way to make amends – the classic “Mama Tried” – left the future of country with a template for unapologetic, outlaw living and one of music’s most iconic arpeggio riffs. Angaleena Presley captures the spirit of both on “Mama I Tried,” a new song from her forthcoming LP, Wrangled. Setting that lick alongside a mischievous, aggressive bass line, it’s an anthem for anyone who takes chances, makes mistakes and bucks the system.  

Mama I tried, mama I tried. I cheated and I lied,” Presley sings – like Haggard, it’s not so much an apology as it is a proclamation. “I painted up my face like a rodeo clown and I choked on cheap perfume as I spread myself around.” Co-written by Oran Thornton (Eric Church, David Nail), who also produced the album with Presley, “Mama I Tried” is one of Wrangled‘s harder rocking moments, showing that the Pistol Annie is not interested in conforming to Nashville’s standards, her parents’ desires or genre constraints.

“I’m a strong, independent woman who can clean a house, ride a dirt bike, pitch a tent, wash clothes and fix the machine when it breaks,” Presley tells Rolling Stone Country. “I’m also a sensitive, flawed human being who believes that honesty, empathy and vulnerability can heal the most callous heart. I write songs about the terrible, awful shit that happens to me in hopes that listeners will know they’re not alone.”

Wrangled is out April 21st on Mining Light/Thirty Tigers. 

In This Article: Angaleena Presley

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