LORI MCKENNA puts a magnifying glass on unchampioned lives. She doesn’t just notice the quiet and ordinary, she delights in it, effortlessly transforming the average to extraordinary. The result is over a decade worth of songs filled with honest stories and depth.
McKenna had already become one of the industry’s most sought-after songwriters, and then, the last three years happened. Tim McGraw’s No. 1 “Humble and Kind,” which McKenna wrote alone, earned her the Grammy for Best Country Song. It marked the second consecutive year McKenna took home the honor: Little Big Town’s 11-week No. 1 “Girl Crush,” which McKenna co-wrote, claimed the trophy in 2016. McKenna also earned the ACM Songwriter of the Year crown in 2017, and a slew of nominations both years. “Humble and Kind” clinched a 2017 ACM Song of the Year nomination, while McKenna’s own acclaimed album, The Bird & The Rifle, garnered Grammy nods for Best Americana Album, while album track “Wreck You” received Best Americana Roots Performance and Best Americana Roots Song nods. In 2016, “Girl Crush” scored AIMP Song of the Year honors, along with nominations for Grammy Song of the Year and ACM Song of the Year, while “Humble and Kind” earned a CMA Song of the Year win. Her 2016 CMA Song of the Year honors marked another second consecutive win for McKenna, who also took home the trophy in 2015 for “Girl Crush.”
And just like that, McKenna was catapulted into already-a-legend territory. While Nashville has become an important artistic and business hub for McKenna, Stoughton, Massachusetts has remained home. Faith Hill fell in love with McKenna’s writing first, and since then, country’s biggest stars have followed suit. She penned 2x Platinum Billboard No. 1 hit “I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes and radio favorites such as Little Big Town’s “Your Side of the Bed” and “Sober,” while Reba, Alison Krauss, David Nail, Keith Urban, and others have also recorded her songs.
As an artist, McKenna has now recorded 10 albums. NPR declared The Bird & the Rifle, which was produced by Grammy winner Dave Cobb, “one of 2016’s best releases,” while Rolling Stone named Numbered Doors, a stunning collection of her gritty, pensive songs, one of the “40 Best Country Albums of 2014.” Massachusetts, released the previous year, introduced McKenna to an even wider audience, hungry for something real, while 2012’s Heart Shaped Bullet Hole and 2011’s Lorraine were also breakthroughs, adding New York Times praise to her long list of fans including American Songwriter, Paste, and CMT.
The Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival is extremely proud to host our headliner, Lori McKenna, as she performs Saturday night, October 21 on the SOUTH POINT HYUNDAI STAGE at the Mercer Street Dance Hall, in what is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime, intimate evening of top-notch songwriting talent. Show starts at 8:00pm!
“We tend to leave guitars around the house, because I have this weird thing of, if I feel like writing a song and it’s not ‘in’ one guitar, it may be ‘in’ the one beside it. Which I know sounds weird, but it’s kind of true sometimes.” – Lori McKenna
ANGALENNA PRESLEY – As the last of the Pistol Annies to release her own album, Angaleena Presley wasn’t a superstar on the level of Miranda Lambert, nor was she quite the Music City survivor like Ashley Monroe. Instead, she was a successful behind-the-scenes songwriter who received an even bigger boost once she became part of the Annies. Once the group’s 2011 debut Hell on Heels turned into a success, it was a matter of time before Presley received her own record contract, which she did in 2014, when she released American Middle Class.
By the time that album came out in the fall of 2014, Presley had been working away in Nashville for the better part of 15 years. A native of Martin County, Kentucky, where she was born to a school teacher mother and coal miner father, Presley began playing music as a teenager but didn’t pursue it seriously until she left Eastern Kentucky University. She moved to Nashville in 2000, landing a publishing deal not long afterward. It took her a while to land songs on records, but they started to come toward the end of the decade, with “Knocked Up” appearing on Heidi Newfield’s 2008 LP What Am I Waiting For? and “Look It Up” showing up on Ashton Shepherd’s 2011 album Where Country Grows.
In 2011 Ashley Monroe, a singer/songwriter who was with the same publisher, brought Presley to the attention of Miranda Lambert. The trio soon formed Pistol Annies and they all collaborated on the songs that became their debut album Hell on Heels, which became a gold success in the U.S. and the record generated a 2013 sequel called Annie Up. A year later Presley released her long-awaited debut American Middle Class on Slate Creek and it debuted at 29 on the U.S. country charts. In April of 2017 Angaleena released her current album, Wrangled, which debuted at No.15 on Billboard‘s Heatseeker Album chart. Wrangled is an explicitly forthright journey through her experience in the business of Country Music. She’s tackled uncomfortable realities like the discrimination against female artists at the height of Bro-Country, the high school mentality of Music Row and the pain that’s just beneath the surface of the road to stardom and come out victorious.
Covered in elbow grease and sacrifice, Presley says she set out to shed the skin of her ‘dream’ Nashville by painting a musical picture of loss, surrender, resurrection, redemption, and connection with real people who make and support honest music.
Angaleena will open the Saturday Headliner Showcase for Lori McKenna on October 21 on the SOUTH POINT HYUNDAI STAGE at the Mercer Street Dance Hall. Show starts at 8:00pm!
“The best that country music has had to offer over the past 70 years,” – No Depression (Amos Perrine).
“Angaleena Presley Doesn’t Need Nashville, but Nashville Needs Angaleena Presley,” – Noisey’s headline (Kim Kelly)