Any woman who covers Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied" on her debut album is a gal with something to prove, and Nikki Lane is a singer and songwriter who makes it very clear on Walk of Shame that you do not want to get on her bad side. Born in South Carolina and living in Nashville after stops in New York and Los Angeles, Lane is a spunky firecracker whose music merges retro-rock with old-school country while infusing the whole with a dose of punky adrenaline; most of the songs on Walk of Shame were written in the wake of a bad romantic breakup, and Lane's tone here ranges from muted disappointment to dish-smashing anger, but even though she's in the market for a new romance (and she makes the recipient of her attentions on "Coming Home to You" sound like a very lucky man), forgiving and forgetting don't come easy for her. Lane's voice is big and sassy, though she sometimes overplays the sharper edges of her Southern accent, and when she emotes, she makes sure it carries to the last row of the balcony; figure in the deep, echoey production that recalls Neko Case's early albums without the same emotional gravitas, and you have a talented artist who is still learning the finer points of making her music work in the recording studio. But Lane has confidence to spare and a voice that lives up to her own self-worth, and as a writer she can communicate the ups and downs of love with intelligence and bold wit. Considering that Nikki Lane had been writing songs for a mere four years when she recorded Walk of Shame, it's an impressive achievement from an artist who is more than just promising, and if she could use a bit of polish when she tells you she can't be satisfied, you might find yourself working up the courage to offer to try.
Amazing album - ignore the crappy reviews...
Great alt-country swampy production and an amazing voice...take the best elements of Loretta Lynn's drawl with some Mazzy Star ambience and add some gritty attitude. I'll take this any day over the total crap spewing out of the Nashville sewers daily.
One of the one star reviewers hates everything, and another sure loves him some Billy Ray Cyrus - there you go.
Why does the label matter?
I'm a little appalled by the reviews that give this album one or two stars because it's not "Country" WHATEVER your definition of country is. I don't want to give a huge preachy speech, but if you were expecting the stuff you hear from the radio that's labeled as Country, you're not going to get that with this album, and that's not true country to most people anyway. These days, most things are a HYBRID of country. The mainstream country on the radio like Taylor Swift (is that what you were looking for with this album? Because that's not what you're gonna get, sorry) is a hybrid with pop. This album is also a hybrid with country, but it's the closest to real country (and when I say real country I'm referring to what Country started out as. Check out Loretta Lynn, one of my faves, if you have NO CLUE what I"m talking about, or even Hank freaking Williams. Please tell me you've heard of him.) that I've heard in a while. There IS country on this album, for those of you that deny it. There's a lot of twang on it. I first knd of compared it to Elizabeth Cook, just because it's on the twangier side of alt-country (again, a hybrid genre of country, one of my faves which is why I bought this record).
And I don't want to be a pompous brat and throw the 'I'm a musician" card at you, that's not what I'm trying to do, but these ARE country songs with country chord progressions, country hooks, yadda yadda yadda. This IS a country album in the technical sense.
Now, Nikki Lane threw in some vintage sound to it which sounds GREAT in my opinion, a little rockabilly, some other influences, some rock, all which make this album a kind of melange of genres, but at its core it IS a freakin country record, and a great one at that. The songwriting is fantastic. My favorites are "Lies," "Look Away" (I really want to cover this one), "and of course "Gone," but I haven't given it the listening time it deserves. I was instantly hooked on those songs though.
Oh, and the "Gasoline and Matches" song someone mentioned? That's a cover by Buddy and Julie Miller, a husband and wife songwriting team that works out of Nashville and Austin that are GREAT, COUNTRY songwriters who many COUNTRY artists have covered. Check them out. Buddy also played with / produced (I think) the Robert Plant / Alison Krauss album... and maybe Band of Joy... but anyway...
This is a fantastic album in my opinion. Sorry for the word vomit of lecture about country, I was just so... angry and shocked at people writing this album off and rating it so poorly because of the freaking itunes label (REALLY?) and because they were looking for pop country, not this beautiful hybrid country that gets pretty darn close to the traditional country that a lot of artists have been influenced by, whether they know it or not.
Again, sorry for the lecture, but ugghhh. And PLEASE give this album a chance with the fact in mind that it's NOT pop country, and if you're used to pop country, you may not be drawn to it right away. But don't write it off immediately, it's great.
Glad to be the first to write a review. Nikki's voice is amazing, and so is the music. Kinda counrty, swampy, 60's sounding. Buy it, you won't be disappointed.
Years Active: '10s
Top Albums and Songs by Nikki Lane
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