Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick Hits: Nikki Lane

July 24, 2011

Nikki Lane‘s Gone, Gone, Gone EP is about as good a primer on old-school country as I could ask for, and about as solid an introduction as an artist can give.

The title track is an ominous, spaghetti Western-inspired piece that showcases Lane’s husky, gritty alto voice. The guitar reverb is dark and a tad malicious, which makes the lyrics of leaving all the more cutting. “Western Bound” sees her voice in a higher register, invoking drawling, old-time country divas. It’s the most immediate of the four, with charming pedal steel. “Down to the Wire” is a straight-up Western swing tune, to make Bob Wills proud. I felt wrong not dancing to this tune about drinkin’, which features Lane’s voice in the higher register again.

“Comin’ Home to You” shows her voice with the most character on the EP, as she drops affectation and just lets it be. It’s an arresting one, and full of grit and turns and pockmarks, and while the songwriting is impressive, it’s Lane’s voice that sticks out at the end of the ten-minute EP. I can see Lane going quite far with both of those elements in her pocket. One to watch.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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