‘Highway Queen’ Nikki Lane rolls into Crystal Bay Saturday

Nikki Lane appears Saturday in the Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room.

It’s no wonder rising country star Nikki Lane is known as the Highway Queen.

Thursday in San Diego. Friday in Los Angeles. Sunday in San Francisco. Next week in Portland. And in the midst of all that, she will appear at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct 5, at Crystal Bay Casino Lake Tahoe.

Lane was well received in Reno in a show two years ago at Cargo Concert Hall. This fall, she is on the highway with guest singer Carl Anderson. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 on day of show, and guests must be 21 or older. Hellbound Glory plays the free Red Room after-party.

Lane’s third album, “Highway Queen,”  was released in February 2017. Co-produced by Lane and fellow singer-songwriter Jonathan Tyler, this emotional tour-de-force was recorded at Matt Pence’s Echo Lab studio in Denton, Texas, as well as at Club Roar with Collin Dupuis in Nashville/ Blending potent lyrics, unbridled blues guitars and vintage 1960 country-pop swagger, Lane’s music will resonate as easily with Lana Del Rey and Jenny Lewis fans as those of Neil Young and Tom Petty.

“Highway Queen” is a journey through heartbreak that takes exquisite turns. The record begins with a whiskey-soaked homage to Lane’s hometown (“700,000 Rednecks”) and ends on the profoundly raw “Forever Lasts Forever,” where Lane mourns a failed marriage – the “lighter shade of skin” left behind from her wedding ring. On “Forever” and the confessional “Muddy Waters,” Lane’s lyrics align her with perceptive songwriters like Nick Lowe and Cass McCombs.

Elsewhere, “Companion” is pure Everly Brothers’ dreaminess (“I would spend a lifetime/ Playing catch you if I can”). She goes on a Vegas bender on the rollicking “Jackpot,” fights last-call blues (“Foolish Heart”) and tosses off brazen one-liners at a backroom piano (“Big Mouth”).

“Love is the most unavoidable thing in the world,”  says Lane, a native of Greenville, South Carolina. “The person you pick could be half set-up to destroy your life with their own habits – I’ve certainly experienced that before and taken way too long to get out of that mistake.”

In 2014, Lane’s second album, “All or Nothin’ “(New West) solidified her sandpaper voice beneath a 10-gallon hat as the new sound and look of outlaw country music. Produced by Dan Auerbach, the record’s bluesy Western guitars paired with Lane’s Dusty Springfield-esque voice earned glowing reviews from NPR, the Guardian and Rolling Stone. In three years since her “Walk of Shame” debut, Lane said she was living most of the year on the road.

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