Country singer Nikki Lane had a big 2014. She released her sophomore album “All or Nothin’ ” to rave reviews; made her late-night TV debut on “Conan”; rocked festivals as diverse as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and Austin City Limits; and opened for feminist country royalty Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson.
Yet she still hasn’t played her hometown. “I don’t think anyone in Greenville (S.C.) knows I exist,” says Lane, in the signature Southern drawl she brings to her woozy country songs. “We got one offer (to play) next summer, but we had to tell them I was from there.”
Lane plays Neighborhood Theatre with Trampled By Turtles Tuesday.
Produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, “All or Nothin’ ” is awash in a vintage sort of country that reflects Lane’s interest in fashion and thrifting, but it’s spiked with contemporary production.
“My vintage interest came from growing up around my grandparents and older people around my neighborhood,” she says, but adds that she didn’t grow up on old country. “I didn’t listen to a lot of what I listen to now back then.”
Since leaving South Carolina to study fashion in L.A. at the age of 18, she has spent time living in New York, but ultimately settled in Nashville.
She was admittedly green when making and touring her first album, 2011’s “Walk of Shame.”
“In the studio, the first time you don’t know much more than to say you do or don’t like something,” she says of learning the lingo. “The drummer literally speaks in code. It takes so long to fluently know what people are discussing in a studio.”
“As it became my job,” Lane says, “I had to ’fess up to the fact that I didn’t know how to play guitar live or in a recording session.”
More than three years later, she’s savvier about how the process works. And she prides herself on being an original artist with an original sound.
“A lot of people like prefab music and prefab furniture,” she says. “I don’t. It seems like (prefab artists) are very nice. I’m not trying to start a feud with them. I look for authenticity and individuality in all things, especially music.”
Lane realizes her country doesn’t fit with Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney’s, but says plenty of people like what she has to offer – if they hear it.
“My dad lives in Woodruff, S.C., and there’s two radio stations there, pop and country. They would never put my record on that. But I can take my record down to that region and they’re all into it. My dad’s not hip to the iPad, but he knows a good country record.”