'Highway Queen' Nikki Lane makes a stop at The Current

Nikki Lane performs the title track from "Highway Queen" live in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
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Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio (full session + interview) 21:02
  • Nikki Lane - Highway Queen (Live on The Current) 03:42
  • Nikki Lane - Jackpot (Live on The Current) 03:25
  • Nikki Lane - Send the Sun (Live on The Current) 02:51

In the title track to her album Highway Queen, Nikki Lane sings about "60,000 miles of blacktop." The album title and song lyrics have proved somewhat prophetic. "We've been logging lots of miles," Lane says. "We're halfway through our first tour for Highway Queen."

That tour has brought Lane and her band — guitarist Alex Munoz, bassist Eric Whitman, drummer Taylor Powell and second guitarist (and Highway Queen's co-producer with Lane) Jonathan Tyler — to the Twin Cities for a show at the Turf Club. After that show, which be flying to Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest (SXSW) before resuming the Highway Queen tour in Bozeman, Mont., but not before stopping at The Current for a session hosted by Bill DeVille.

Highway Queen is Lane's third album. In making the record, Lane enjoyed growing as a producer, and she reveled in the entire recording process, particularly the creative collaboration with Tyler and the other musicians. "I think we found the right treatment for every song that's on there," Lane says.

Also enjoyable were making two videos for tracks on the album, the production of which gave Lane the chance to drive a monster truck ("Highway Queen") and the opportunity to shoot a video in a casino in downtown Las Vegas ("Jackpot"). And for the album artwork, Lane participated in a photo shoot where she posed with and even stood on the backs of real Texas longhorn steers.

Lane has been called the First Lady of Outlaw Country, a term she embraces but is not limited by. "I think in general, musical cannot be described in words, especially in one word," Lane says. "There are so many more genres than what are known commonly in a household, and 'outlaw' is just one of those genres that is recognizable. You have to be able to describe yourself in three words, all this music that's on this record … I'm just making independent music and it's got a little edge to it, and sure it's outlaw … but I am kind of outlaw and I am kind of Americana, and I think a lot of other people are too that don't sound just like Waylon Jennings."

DeVille notes how other artists labeled "outlaw" include Jaime Wyatt and Margo Price. "It's just all the tough chicks," Lane says. "I think that it's alarming to some people — a lot of interviews are like: Is that weird to talk about as a girl? I'm like, 'I don't know, it just came out of my head.' I didn't think a girl shouldn't say it, and I don't think any of those girls do, either. I don't think our parents raised us to think we were supposed to question our thoughts because of our gender."

Use the audio player above to listen to the complete in-studio session.

Songs Performed


"Highway Queen"
"Jackpot"
"Send the Sun"
All songs from Nikki Lane's 2017 album, Highway Queen, available on New West Records.

Hosted by Bill DeVille
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor

Resources


Nikki Lane - official site

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13 Photos

  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Alex Munoz performs with Nikki Lane in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Taylor Powell performs with Nikki Lane in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Guitarist Alex Munoz performs with Nikki Lane in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Alex Munoz performs with Nikki Lane in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Jonathan Tyler performs with Nikki Lane in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Jonathan Tyler performs with Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Eric Whitman performs with Nikki Lane in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio
    Nikki Lane performs in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane portrait at The Current
    Nikki Lane portrait at The Current (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Nikki Lane portrait at The Current
    Nikki Lane portrait at The Current (Nate Ryan | MPR)

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