Nikki Lane

Nikki Lane grew up First Baptist, but always felt like an outsider; her parents were divorced, and didn’t have a lot of money. Before music, fashion was Lane’s outlet for creative expression. She remembers being a teenager in Greenville, South Carolina, dressing up for Christian punk shows her parents allowed her to go to. "Remember the Aerosmith video where Alicia Silverstone changed her outfit in the car? That's really what the fuck I did.”

She dropped out of school at 17 and within two years had moved to Los Angeles, which led to New York City, and then down to Nashville, where she began writing her own songs.

2011 saw the release of her debut album Walk of Shame, which proved Lane could sing anything from swampy rockers to tender love ballads. It was a stepping stone for her more ambitious second album, 2014’s All or Nothin’, which was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, whom she met while selling clothes at a Nashville flea market. Auerbach helped Lane amp up her sound, touching on doo-wop, surf-rock guitars, and funky rhythms. It worked - the stomping opener “Right Time” has racked up more than 10 million Spotify streams. It was then followed by 2017’s Highway Queen, where she made no secret of her big ambitions. The album received wide critical acclaim and was featured on multiple year-end best-of lists.

But then she wasn’t sure she wanted to make another one.

She was tired of saying yes and tired of the touring grind. She had lived up to her Highway Queen persona, touring from Boston to Barcelona, and back again. Lane did it all - driving the tour van, keeping track of the merch she designed, performing, meeting fans. “It was hard playing all the roles. There was very little left,” she says.

When the grind came to a halt, she was happy staying home, hanging out with artists like Sierra Ferrell (“One of the most raw, original talents I’ve ever heard - She's my favorite”). Lana Del Rey enlisted Lane to write and duet with her on last year’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club (Del Rey has also become known to jump on stage during Lane performances). Lane also collaborated with Spiritualized on their acclaimed Everything Was Beautiful.

“I hadn’t made a record in years and did not really feel interested in making another one,” she says. But Lane had been secretly stashing away ideas. “What I realized was how many little nuggets I was sitting on,” she says.

Enter Joshua Homme.

She and the Queens of the Stone Age frontman connected over the phone in May 2020 when the world was shut down. Like Lane, Homme was feeling overwhelmed with everything happening. “Neither of us knew what the year was going to hold and if it was going to work or if it was going to be easy.” Energized by their talk, Lane and Homme found themselves in his Pink Duck Studios months later. Lane came in with new songs and Homme put together a studio band of big-budget talent including his Queens of the Stone Age collaborators Alain Johannes on guitar, Dean Fertita on organ & Michael Shuman on bass, as well as drummers Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys and Carla Azar of the acclaimed post-punk band Autolux. Homme asked Lane to bring a bandmate of her own, and she chose her steel player Matt Pynn. Since Lane felt out of her element, Pynn became a crucial support system in a room of new faces: “I’d be like ‘Did we get that vocal?’ And he’d be like, ‘Fuck yeah.’”

On Denim & Diamonds (2022), Lane combines her love of Nuggets-era bands like The 13th Floor Elevators with the back porch wit of Loretta Lynn - an artist Lane hadn’t discovered until she was in her twenties (“MTV was my babysitter growing up,” she admits). Later, Lynn immediately felt a kinship upon hearing Lane’s sharp-witted biographical vignettes. “She’s a lot like me,” Lynn told CBS’ Anthony Mason. “I just feel like we always knew each other. We might have met in another lifetime.”

Homme helped Lane take her sound to new places. He took her empowering kiss-off, the title track, “Denim and Diamonds,” and turned it into “the most Homme song on the record,” complete with a swaggering blues riff and dynamic snare-drum pummeling; On the heavy “Black Widow,” Lane uses spider superstition as a parallel to warn about a dangerous lover.

One song Lane keeps coming back to is “Pass it Down,” a buoyant folk singalong that came out of a phone conversation about her relationship with her father and her deeply religious upbringing. “It could be about religion, it could be about AA,” she says. “It’s about getting it off your chest in order to move on.” Lane realizes she may have stumbled upon the theme running through the entire record. “I'm attracted to things that might catch me on fire, because that's the inkwell,” says Lane. “I got my confidence back in some ways. I remembered what I was good at. I’m in a good place.”

For Lane, Denim & Diamonds was a chance to take stock of her first decade as a songwriter. She traces her story of origin, from her religious youth in South Carolina to Nashville Rebel. It’s a wild, heavy journey into the mind of one of today’s most talented songwriters.

Past Shows


Dec
17
th
2022
Fine Line
Dec
17
th
2022
Fine Line

Nikki Lane

Denim and Diamonds Tour
with Jaime Wyatt
Jun
14
th
2020
NoonChorus
Jun
14
th
2020
NoonChorus

Nikki Lane

Live From The Other Side — Livestream
Oct
13
th
2019
Fine Line
Oct
13
th
2019
Fine Line

Nikki Lane

with Carl Anderson
Nov
3
rd
2017
Fine Line
Nov
3
rd
2017
Fine Line
Mar
14
th
2017
Turf Club
Mar
14
th
2017
Turf Club

Nikki Lane

with Brent Cobb and Jonathan Tyler
Nov
15
th
2015
Turf Club
Nov
15
th
2015
Turf Club

Nikki Lane

Moved from the FINE LINE
with Clear Plastic Masks and Hope Country
Aug
7
th
2015
Mainroom
Aug
7
th
2015
Mainroom

Social Distortion

with Nikki Lane and Drag The River
Aug
5
th
2015
Turf Club
Aug
5
th
2015
Turf Club

Nikki Lane

with Frankie Lee
Feb
14
th
2015
Turf Club
Feb
14
th
2015
Turf Club

Nikki Lane

with Jonny Fritz and HUGH BOB (solo)
Nov
18
th
2014
The Cedar Cultural Center
Nov
18
th
2014
The Cedar Cultural Center
Jun
14
th
2014
7th St Entry
Jun
14
th
2014
7th St Entry

Nikki Lane

with Hugh Bob and The Hustle and Frankie Lee
May
2
nd
2012
Mainroom
May
2
nd
2012
Mainroom

Spiritualized

with Nikki Lane
Nov
14
th
2011
Mainroom
Nov
14
th
2011
Mainroom

NOAH & THE WHALE

with Nikki Lane

More Shows

Oct
9
th
Fine Line

Boris

with Starcrawler
Jul
12
th
Fine Line

Social Animals

Jun
29
th
Turf Club

Petty Treason’s Big Queer Burlesque Bonanza

Aug
8
th
Turf Club

Creed Fisher