Nikki Lane Highway Queen Tour Brent Cobb, Jonathan Tyler
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For her hotly anticipated sophomore album, Nashville songstress Nikki Lane teamed up with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys for a record that turns the vulnerable singer-songwriter stereotype on its ears. With songs that crucify ex-boyfriends, celebrate one-night stands (as long as she can bolt town right after) and proclaim that it’s “always the right time to do the wrong thing,” Lane comes across like a modern-era Wanda Jackson, albeit with more oats to sow. “My songs always paint a pretty clear picture of what’s been going on in my life, so thisis one moody record,” she says. “There’s lots of talk of misbehaving and moving on.”
All or Nothin’ will be released via New West Records on May 6th, 2014.
Brent Cobb didn’t set out to write an album that feels and sounds like the place he grew up. But now that the grooves have been cut in his debut LP, Shine on Rainy Day, there’s no denying the people, the places and the vibe of his southcentral Georgia home infuse almost every song.
“It just is Georgia,” Brent says in his musical drawl. “It’s just that rural, easy-going way it feels down there on a nice spring evening when the wind’s blowing warm and you smell wisteria, you know?”
It’s quiet down there where he’s from in Ellaville – “population 1,609” – laid back and forgotten in the shadow of Atlanta and Savannah. The people have blue-collar values and believe in treating your neighbor like you want to be treated. They believe in curses and the dark finger of Fate and wield a sharp, dark sense of humor that sustains them through the hardest of times. Distant radio stations, roadside honkytonks made of cinderblock and back-porch picking sessions heavy on the backbeat predominate under Spanish moss-strewn live oaks and loblolly pines.
It was the perfect place to grow up.
“Lord, when I die, let’s make a deal,” Brent sings on the album’s swirling thesis statement, “South of Atlanta,” “lay me down in that town where time stands still.”
Shine on Rainy Day is an album Brent’s been trying to make for a decade, enlisting his cousin and fellow Georgian, Dave Cobb, the Grammy Award-winning producer whose Elektra Records imprint Low Country Sound is home to the album.
Jonathan Tyler did the rock star thing.
He played Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Hangout Fest and the Voodoo Experience. He performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and toured alongside AC/DC, ZZ Top, Grace Potter, and Kid Rock. His 2010 LP Pardon Me for Atlantic Records with backing band The Northern Lights reached No. 8 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. His songs were featured in such television shows as Boardwalk Empire and Friday Night Lights.
It was everything he thought he’d wanted. It was everything he’d signed up for. But it wasn’t really him.
“I knew what I was getting into,” Tyler says now, removed enough from that whirlwind to have gained some perspective on it. “I knew what would happen when we signed with Atlantic. Then I got over it.”
These days, Tyler really does come off as a changed man – in person and on record alike. He’s more introspective, more focused. His shoulders are less slumped, as if a heavy burden has been lifted. It has: Holy Smokes, his forthcoming third proper LP, finds Tyler shed of major-label constraints, bearing his soul as songwriter who’s seen the top of the mountain and now seeks a different kind of climb, one filled less with flash and more with substance. The album’s an open look into who Tyler is at this very moment – and, most of all, who he feels he’s always really been.
“I’m in this for the long haul,” he says now with certainty — and Holy Smokes, filled with songs that fill every emotional nook and cranny, very much plays out like a testament to this fact.