When Nikki Lane left Greenville, S.C., for Nashville, she hoped to find some likeminded folks who shared her appreciation for both real, old-timey country and the awesome clothes the stars wore on the album covers. Lane scoured stores for vintage clothes and cool items from a bygone era, and sold them at a small store in East Nashville called High Class Hillbilly. It was here the singer metBlack Keys frontman and producer Dan Auerbach; with his penchant for vintage equipment, he was just the man to capture Lane’s sepia-toned sound.
Lane’s smoky, alluring vocals are set off beautifully by Auerbach’s vintage twang; together they create the perfect setting for Lane’s gritty, no-holds-barred lyrics. When she matter-of-factly sings, “I ain’t looking for love/ Just a little danger/ Tonight would be a good night/ To sleep with a stranger,” there’s little doubt she will do just that. Her frank point of view helped forge one of the most refreshing and downright entertaining albums of 2014, and is just one of the reasons Rhapsody chose Lane as our Ones to Watch artist for May.
We asked the sultry singer to make a playlist for us, and we love that she took that opportunity to shine the spotlight on her peers in trendy East Nashville. She tells us, “I almost went down a list of my favorite songs of all time, but most of you already know Neil Young and The Flamin’ Groovies — and even if you don’t know some of the others, like Bobby Charles‘ ‘Tennessee Blues,’ we can always talk about that in the future.
“What I wanted to show you most,” she continues, “was all the badass music that’s coming right out of my neighborhood. It seems like everyone is talking about Nashville these days, and what they’re really talking about is East Nashville. Most of the people here are transplants who moved to Nashville to pursue music, and they support one another in the upward rise of real tunes made byreal people. You won’t find another city like it.
“You’ll find a few great artists in my playlist that you’ve never heard of before — and I’ll bet you’ll thank me after. For those who already know the artists here, congratulations — you have fabulous taste in music.”