Starring in season two of Make It Up As We Go, Elle King has brought something funky to the scripted podcast with “Honky Tonk Disco Nights.” Funked up with beats, delivered by musician and producer Nile Rodgers, and its dance-induced refrain Get your dirty boots on the floor, “Honky Tonk Disco Nights” deviates from the country-seeped soundtrack previously featured on the series.
Videos by American Songwriter
“Getting Nile involved happened because the creators intended to replicate the magic of what he did with Daft Punk and Pharrell on ‘Get Lucky,’ but this time marrying the country genre with the ’70s funk that is Nile’s signature sound,” says King of the track, which was written by the show creators Scarlett Burke—who also plays the main character of Charlotte—and Audio Up CEO Jared Gutstad, along with Abby Anderson and Gabriel Kirshoff. “This was the only song that he was involved with this season, which is such an honor.”
King adds, “The goal behind the direction of the song was to get the people who are out on Broadway in Nashville to shake their asses, which is why Nile Rodgers was approached to be part of the song too.”
Though the entirety of “Honky Tonk Disco Nights” isn’t used in the podcast, King’s release is the first time listeners can hear the full version of the song. “This is an innovative and unique way for music discovery,” says King of the incorporation of the song on the podcast. “I was excited to do something new and different. Much like how songs are discovered in films and television shows, podcasts are a new, growing medium where music can be married with storytelling to be discovered by fans in an interesting and engaging way.”
Now in its second season, King has also joined the cast of Make It Up As We Go, also starring actor Garrett Hedlund, Shooter Jennings, Nashville songwriter Liz Rose, along with Chord Overstreet, Kat & Alex, Breland, and Abby Anderson.
King’s character plays a fictional version of herself who meets the main character Charlotte. “She [King’s character] is at her lowest point and my character gives her career advice to help support her and lift her out of her rut,” shares King. “Ultimately my character cuts the song that helps reinvigorate Charlotte’s career.”
Available through SiriusXM, the SXM App, Pandora, Stitcher and podcast platforms, Season two of Make It Up As We Go continues the story of a young country singer Charlotte Sayles making her way in a male-dominated music city. In the second season, Sayles returns to her home state of Texas following the death of her father and tries to work through her grief by writing. When she attends country songwriter Liz Rose’s writing retreat at the Wayside Ranch it leads to a turning point in the young artist’s career. Throughout the season, Sayles pursues a deal with a big publishing company and struggles with balancing work and her relationship with Marshall, all while dealing with the “cancel culture” within the Nashville songwriting world.
“Honky Tonk Disco Nights” is the latest contribution of original music to the podcast series. Season one of Make It Up As We Go featured original music by Lambert, who also appeared on the podcast along with the cast, including Bobby Bones, Lindsay Ell, Billy Bob Thornton, and Craig Robinson.
“The podcast is a story about female outlaws in country music and lifting up other females, from writers, producers, and artists, says King. “My character meets a young female who keeps hitting hurdles in our business and my character was in a position to help her by championing her. Sadly, Charlotte’s narrative mirrors what often happens in the music business to women, so I thought it was important to play a character who wanted to be part of the solution.”
Photo: Corey Bost /Courtesy of Sony