Nikki Lane Highway Queen Tour

Stagecoach Spotlight

Nikki Lane Highway Queen Tour

Brent Cobb, Jonathan Tyler

Thu, March 9, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Bluebird - Featured Events

Bloomington, IN

$15.00 - $45.00

This event is 21 and over

Nikki Lane
Nikki Lane
Nikki Lane's stunning third album Highway Queen, out February 17th, 2017, sees the young Nashville singer emerge as one of country and rock's most gifted songwriters. Co-produced by Lane and fellow singer-songwriter, Jonathan Tyler, this emotional tour-de-force was recorded at Matt Pence's Echo Lab studio in Denton, Texas as well as at Club Roar with Collin Dupuis in Nashville, Tennessee. Blending potent lyrics, unbridled blues guitars and vintage Sixties country-pop swagger, Lane's new music will resonate as easily with Lana Del Rey and Jenny Lewis fans as those of Neil Young and Tom Petty.

Highway Queen is a journey through heartbreak that takes exquisite turns. The record begins with a whiskey-soaked homage to Lane's hometown ("700,000 Rednecks") and ends on the profoundly raw "Forever Lasts Forever," where Lane mourns a failed marriage – the "lighter shade of skin" left behind from her wedding ring. On "Forever" and the confessional "Muddy Waters," Lane's lyrics align her with perceptive songwriters like Nick Lowe and Cass McCombs. Elsewhere, "Companion" is pure Everly Brothers' dreaminess ("I would spend a lifetime/ Playing catch you if I can"). She goes on a Vegas bender on the rollicking "Jackpot," fights last-call blues ("Foolish Heart") and tosses off brazen one-liners at a backroom piano ("Big Mouth").

"Love is the most unavoidable thing in the world," Lane says. "The person you pick could be half set-up to destroy your life with their own habits – I've certainly experienced that before and taken way too long to get out of that mistake."

In 2014, Lane's second album All or Nothin' (New West) solidified her sandpaper voice beneath a ten-gallon hat as the new sound and look of outlaw country music. Produced by Dan Auerbach, the record's bluesy Western guitars paired with Lane's Dusty Springfield-esque voice earned glowing reviews from NPR, the Guardian and Rolling Stone. In three years since her Walk of Shame debut, Lane said she was living most of the year on the road.

Growing up, Lane used to watch her father pave asphalt during blistering South Carolina summers. She'd sit on the roller ("what helps smooth out the asphalt") next to a guy named Rooster and divvy out Hardee's lunch orders for the workers. "My father thought he was a country singer," Lane laughs. "He partied hard at night, but by 6:30 AM he was out on the roads in 100-degree weather." That's the southern work ethic, she says. "We didn't have a lot of money, but I was privileged with the knowledge of how to work hard, how to learn and to succeed when things aren't set up for me." Creativity was an unthinkable luxury, she adds. "When people told me I should try to get a record deal for songs I was writing, I was like, 'that's cute – I've got to be at work at 10 A.M.'"

"Becoming a songwriter is one of the most selfish things I've ever done," Lane says plainly. She describes writing her first song at age 25 like it was a necessary act of self-preservation after a devastating breakup. Many of her early songs, she said on Shame and Nothin', were about the fleetingness of relationships she believed were permanent, she says. Lane's main line of work in those days was a fashion entrepreneur (she's currently the owner of Nashville's vintage clothing boutique High Class Hillbilly). It brought her to cities around the country, New York to Los Angeles to Nashville. And like a true wanderer, Lane's sound crisscrosses musical genres with ease, while the lonesome romantic in her remains. Even a soft song like, "Send The Sun," with its lilting downward strum, is flush with bittersweet emotion. "Darling, we're staring at the same moon," Lane sings lovingly. "I used to say that to my ex," she says with cheerful stoicism, "to try to brighten the long nights, stay positive."

Highway Queen is poised to be Lane's mainstream breakthrough. "Am I excited to spend years of my life in a van, away from family and friends? No, but I'm excited to share my songs, so they'll reach people and help them get through whatever they're going through. To me, that's worth it."

"Lay You Down" is one of those unexpected moments for Lane. "That song was inspired by something Levon Helm's wife posted on Facebook when he was sick with cancer," Lane says. "I was just so moved by her telling the world how much love he felt from people writing to them, and moved that because of the Internet, I was able to see that love ­– even from a distance." The song became surreal for Lane and her band when her longtime guitarist, Alex Munoz, was diagnosed with cancer while they were playing it. "It deepened my perspective and the importance of keeping everyone safe," says Lane.

On the record cover, Lane looks out on wide, unowned Texan plains, leaning on the fearsome horns of a massive steer. Wearing a vintage Victorian dress, the stark photo invokes a time before highways existed. The symbolism isn't lost on Lane. Highway Queen was a pioneering moment for her as an artist.

"I was always a smart girl, always had to yell to be heard," she says, "But this was the first time in my career where I decided how things were going to go; I was willing to take the heat." Lane included the bonus track "Champion" as a small testament to that empowerment. "It makes a point," Lane says with a smile, "That I appreciate what you're saying, but get the fuck out of my way."
Brent Cobb
Brent Cobb
If the love of music can follow a bloodline then you could say that writer & recording artist Brent Cobb was born to be a musician. In fact, so many members of Brent’s extended family have musical ability that he can’t really name them all. Music was not only in his blood, it was played and heard in his home as a child and in the homes of most of his relatives throughout his youth. As this 24-year-old native of Americus, Georgia, would say, “It goes way deep.” Deep as it was, there was no way that he could know growing up that these same familial ties would lead him on a crazy journey that would take him from small town Georgia to the mean streets of LA and back home again, eventually landing him in Nashville, writing songs and collaborating with some of the biggest names in country music today.

For Brent Cobb, making music was not so much a decision but rather a calling. And his vision was as broad as his influences, ranging from rock greats like Tom Petty, Bob Seger and The Rolling Stones to folk icons Townes Van Zant and Bob Dylan to legendary stylists Otis Redding, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. Throughout his teens, he was overwhelmed with passion for the music that would later shape him. When he took up the guitar at age 13, it wasn’t long before he was playing and singing for family and friends, eventually joining local cover bands and writing songs of his own.

Shortly after his 18th birthday, Brent was a pallbearer in his great-aunt’s funeral, along with his cousin, record producer Dave Cobb, who returned to Georgia from LA for the funeral services. Dave had recently completed country music legend Waylon Jennings’s son, Shooter Jennings’ first album. Unbeknownst to Brent, his parents slipped Dave a CD of some songs Brent had written and recorded. Within two days of returning to Los Angeles, Dave had listened to the songs, played them for Shooter and was on the phone to Brent, inviting him to LA to record what would become his 2006 debut album, No Place Left To Leave (produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings).

The album release contributed to Brent’s decision to relocate to Los Angeles in 2007. Having never lived outside of the state of Georgia, adjusting to big city life was a shock to his system. Landing a job in the art department for a film production company, he spent his days building sets and his nights trying to move his music career forward, all the while questioning whether L.A. was truly the right place for him. Six months into his stint, Brent got lost returning from the airport. Stopping to re-orient himself with his window down, he looked up to find a gun in his face. He was being robbed at gunpoint. It was time to move back to Georgia.

Prior to his time in Los Angeles, Brent had fronted regional band, Mile Marker 5, in Georgia, occasionally opening shows for Capitol Records recording artist and fellow Georgian Luke Bryan. Bryan took an interest in Brent and generously made a handful of Nashville based introductions, which led him to Carnival Music where he’s been writing ever since.

His affiliation with Carnival Music precipitated a move to (a much more manageable city) Nashville, and he has since penned songs for several major label projects, including Kellie Pickler, The Eli Young Band, and Luke Bryan.
Jonathan Tyler
Jonathan Tyler
Jonathan Tyler did the rock star thing.

He played Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Hangout Fest and the Voodoo Experience. He performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and toured alongside AC/DC, ZZ Top, Grace Potter, and Kid Rock. His 2010 LP Pardon Me for Atlantic Records with backing band The Northern Lights reached No. 8 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. His songs were featured in such television shows as Boardwalk Empire and Friday Night Lights.

It was everything he thought he'd wanted. It was everything he'd signed up for. But it wasn't really him.

"I knew what I was getting into," Tyler says now, removed enough from that whirlwind to have gained some perspective on it. "I knew what would happen when we signed with Atlantic. Then I got over it."

These days, Tyler really does come off as a changed man – in person and on record alike. He's more introspective, more focused. His shoulders are less slumped, as if a heavy burden has been lifted. It has: Holy Smokes, his forthcoming third proper LP, finds Tyler shed of major-label constraints, bearing his soul as songwriter who's seen the top of the mountain and now seeks a different kind of climb, one filled less with flash and more with substance. The album's an open look into who Tyler is at this very moment – and, most of all, who he feels he's always really been.

"I'm in this for the long haul," he says now with certainty -- and Holy Smokes, filled with songs that fill every emotional nook and cranny, very much plays out like a testament to this fact.
Venue Information:
The Bluebird - Featured Events
216 N Walnut St
Bloomington, IN, 47404