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Outlaw Country Singer Nikki Lane Goes 'All or Nothin' on New Album

Listen to Dan Auerbach-produced single "Right Time"

Nikki Lane
Chuck Grant
March 5, 2014 9:15 AM ET

Outlaw country has traditionally been a male province, but Nashville-via-South-Carolina singer Nikki Lane breaks stereotypes on her Dan Auerbach-produced second album All Or Nothin', set for release May 6th.

"My songs always paint a pretty clear picture of what’s been going on in my life, so this is one moody record," she tells Rolling Stone. "There’s lots of talk of misbehaving and moving on." On her new album, the follow-up to 2011's Walk of Shame, Lane unapologetically sings about one-night stands and shady ex-boyfriends.

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The singer linked up with Auerbach in Nashville at her pop-up vintage clothing stall High Class Hillbilly, and said that working with the Black Keys frontman was not without its reservations. "During the first round of recordings, I was in an awkward mood every night I left the studio," she says. "It was hard for me to trust that Dan was right when he said I should move a verse around or add an extra chorus. He pushed to find the right feel for each track one by one, and a few months later, I found myself with a damn good record."

The pair recorded the album at Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound, the Nashville studio famous for its wide array of vintage gear and creative use of space (two of the studio's bathrooms also double as echo chambers for recording). Auerbach also duets with Lane on the latter's "Love's on Fire." Last year, Auerbach and Lane teamed up for a faithful cover of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton's radio serenade "Just Someone I Used to Know" at a tribute concert for Nashville legend Jack Clement.

Born in South Carolina, Lane moved to New York City and, after a messy breakup, decamped to Nashville. "I was hell bent on living in a big city and I just couldn’t work up the nerve to come back to the South,” she told Garden and Gun magazine in 2013. "When I did, Nashville was the obvious choice for me because of my fondness for it."

Like most outlaw singers, Lane will be spending most of her time on the road, appearing at Willie Nelson's daylong Heartbreaker Banquet concert during South by Southwest before subsequent tours with the Whigs in April and Old 97's in May. 

 Nikki Lane, "Right Time"

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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