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Wednesday, 09 July 2014 08:00

Charting the Music: Nikki Lane, 'All or Nothin''

Charting the Music: Nikki Lane, 'All or Nothin'' facebook.com/nikkilanemusic
Written by Teddy Wenneker
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With a nod to greats like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings before her, Nikki Lane proves with "All or Nothin'" that you don't need a Y chromosome to make rootsy, aggressive outlaw country.

With the help of producer Dan Auerbach, Lane drives through the 43 minutes of "All or Nothin'" with the perfect combination of swagger, anger and just a sliver of regret. Lane recreates a classic '60s country style with a bit more of a pop/rock sound for modern audiences (Andrew Leahey, All Music)

88.1 KDHX chart position: #1 on Americana, CMJ Top 30 and Adult Album Alternative for the week of July 1, 2014.

Record label, release date and producer: New West Records released "All Or Nothin'" on May 6, 2014; it was produced by Dan Auerbach.

Can be heard on: Feel Like Going Home with Roy Kasten, Music at Work with Curt and Memphis to Manchester with John Wendland.

RIYL: Sturgill Simpson, Caitlin Rose and Lord Huron.

Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina.

Standout tracks: Leading track "Right Time" sets a rambunctious tone for the rest of the album with a foot-stomping groove, twangy guitar picking and lyrics that paint a picture of a rowdy evening at a bar in Greenville. "Love's on Fire" begins in a slow, raw lament with a two-part harmony between Lane and Auerbach. After one verse and chorus, the tempo picks up and the arrangement fills out, transforming the song into a gleeful proclamation of love.

The artist: A high-school dropout from Greenville, South Carolina, Lane began writing music in New York City after a bad breakup. In the following years her music matured through "Walk of Shame," her first album, to "All or Nothin'," but her sassy, unembarrassed tone stays constant with songs about troubled love and sleeping with strangers. In navigating the waters of outlaw country music, a genre dominated by men, Lane crafts a sound all her own.

The label: Based out of Los Angeles, Austin, and Athens, Georgia, New West was created in 1998. New West releases music from indie-rock and alternative country bands, including Grammy-winning artists such as Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam. The label has recently expanded through the acquisition of Texas Music Group, which includes labels Antone's and Watermelon Records. New West also represents the PBS show "Austin City Limits."

The producer: Best known as the guitarist and vocalist of the Black Keys, Auerbach specializes in raw, rootsy sounds, but he has produced for a wide range of artists from Dr. John to Lana Del Rey. Being a native of Akron, Ohio, Auerbach's rust-belt upbringing shines through in all his works. He derives much of his inspiration from blues great Junior Kimbrough, the supposed root of Auerbach's decision to drop out of College (Dan Nishimoto, Popmatters).

Play it while: Getting ready for a night out or trying to feel empowered after a heartbreak.

What the critics say: " 'All or Nothin''' simply sounds like the work of a performer who knows when to embrace her contradictions: classic and modern, iconoclastic and approachable, country and rock, urban and rural. That may make her somebody's outlaw, but let's get at least this much straight: Nikki Lane is nobody's songstress." (Stephen Thompson, NPR)

KDHX coverage: Kevin Korinek covered Nikki Lane's in-studio session at KDHX on June 12, 2014. Matt Sorrell covered Nikki Lane's June 12, 2014 performance at the Demo.

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