Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra had a fruitful professional relationship together, most famously working on the smash hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin.’” Though there’s no documented romantic involvement between the two, I believe I have proof of a stylistic offspring of their union. Nikki Lane’a newest release “All Or Nothin’ “ (drop, the “G”, make it real) has the twang, groove and soul DNA that made famed collaboration so successful.
Theres a rose-tinted romantic hopefulness in songs like “Good Man” and “I Don’t Care (About Anything But You)” They have a Wynette-like devotion that wears it’s big heart on a simple gabardine sleeve. “You Can’t Talk To Me Like That” imbues a Laurel Canyon shimmer glinting off this psychedelic-folk ditty reminiscent of Beck’s latest efforts.
But pining has limits and on “Seein Double” Lane licks her heartbroken wounds and hits the road. Producer and Black Key Dan Auerbach lends he voice (as well as his guitar chops which are all over this album) on “Love’s On Fire.” the cut starts as a simmer and heats up to a passion-fueled Rocky-Top-like jamboree. “Sleep With A Stranger” swaggers with energy and is a country-funk delight of sexual self-determination and late night risky businesses.
“All or Nothing” and “Man Up” channels Bobbie Gentry’s Muscle Shoals sessions with all it’s swampy, sultry beauty that fits perfectly with her swervey and austere voice. The latter let’s the subject in her crosshairs know her time is short and if you don’t step up your ass will end up like the gently-worn cowboy boots on the shelf of her Nashville vintage store.
Lane is the spiritual big sister to current Nashville darling Kacey Musgraves. Whereas Musgraves sings about human condition in somewhat wide-eyes naivety, Lane is sophisticated and wry. You can imagine her with a leather jacket, astride a vintage Indian motorcycle, handing a Musgrames “Sticky Fingers” vinyl before tearing down the highway in a cloud of dust.
What starts as a broken-hearted lament of sonic nostalgia careens forward to modern swinging twang looking for a good time. All the while serenaded by Gram Parsons playing in a saloon in a Quentin Tarantino flick.