Legit Sounds One: Nikki Lane – “Highway Queen” (single)
Nikki Lane is available on iTunes.
by Walter Price
This opening paragraph could be walking the edge of music-geek arrogance, but if so, it is truly unintentional. With that bit of disclaimer in hand, I’d like to describe my listening experiences in the last week or so. I had already decided some time ago I’d focus this week’s posts on up and coming artists using authentic retro styles in sounds of any genre to create fresh new music for the now. Unfortunately, not all went to plan.
In my bin of music sent into the GTC labeled “Americana, outlaw, and soul”, I figured there would be a plethora of great underground artists respecting and understanding the history of the music they were utilizing to create their own ‘unique’ songs. Well, after 11 or so various EPs, LPs, and singles, the verdict was clear, mimicry for the sake of hipsterdom is boring as all get out.
I’m certainly not disparaging new artists. Artists I champion at every turn, but I do think using your true voice is the only policy that should be considered when writing, producing and releasing music.
And for my own piece of mind, and maybe yours as well, I thought a new series to highlight artists who get it, who know the lore and atmospheres of eras that came before them and use respect and authenticities to keep the fires burning.
First up, Nikki Lane, and her phenomenally real 2017 single (and album title track), “Highway Queen”. A track that from the outside looking in, seems autobiographical in many ways. A story-song chronicling a traveling performer who puts her love of the town after town open road first. A love that has no room for long-term relationships. It is a nostalgic ode to not only the life of a touring artist, but also a tribute to independence, heart trapping close calls, and perhaps a bit of unspoken loneliness. Real country music wouldn’t be anything without heartbreak, and Nikki Lane has it dialed.
Sixty thousand miles of blacktop
Countless broken hearts between
Winding lies and wide but don’t stop
Living the life of the highway queen
She’s decided, leaves your party
Haunts your mind like a melody
You can tie her down with a Marlboro Light
But the highway queen don’t need no king
Highway queen don’t need no king
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