Nikki Lane: Any Crown She Pleases

Photo by Jessica Lehrman

Nikki Lane’s High Class Hillbilly sits on a strip of East Nashville’s Gallatin Road that’s peppered with car repair joints and mattress shops, two or three miles from this side of town’s boho-bourgeois epicenter. To your left, discount liquors; to the right, a barber shop shrouded in heavy blinds – and, down a steep driveway, is the back door to “HCH,” where Lane can be found inside sitting amongst old Rolling Stones t-shirts, boxes of merch and bars of chocolate. A big mural marks the dot: “the Hideout,” it says. It’s a castle, though, really, for the Highway Queen – the name of her third album and monster-truck-driving, devil-may-care road warrior alter ego. If Roger Miller was that vagabond drifting jovially upon the freeway, Lane is speeding him onto the shoulder.

Lane’s always been the kind of artist who takes the reins on how to reign, on or off the highway, anyway. When she released her debut LP, Walk Of Shame, in 2011, Lane introduced herself with a moniker that was half in jest, half the work of an artist with a dexterous approach to marketing: the “First Lady Of Outlaw Country.” Three albums later, she’s settling into something a little different: the Highway Queen. A first lady needs a main man, but, as she sings, “the highway queen don’t need no king.” And she don’t.

“I’m thinking my four years were up anyway,” she says laughing, taking a bite of a chocolate bar – one with licorice and salt, because the Highway Queen don’t need no Hershey’s, either. “I was joking, partly, about being the first lady of... Sign In to Keep Reading

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