Rockabilly’s new kid on the block.
FORMER florist Lanie Lane, 24, is sitting on a bean bag staring out over Sunset Boulevard. Last week she was riding horses in Nashville and playing in legendary record store Grimey’s, where she swapped singles with the Queen Of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson.
Apart from a shared love of hip-shaking tunes and pin-up haircuts, Jackson ( a one-time squeeze of Elvis Presley) and this softly spoken singer-songwriter share a producer pal – Music City’s newest man behind the mixing desk, Jack White. Jackson and Lane have both recently been granted a rare insight into White’s Wonka-esque, analogue-only recording studio Third Man Records, recording in the facility that was established by the rock ’ n’ roll renaissance man as the sun set on The White Stripes.
For an artist deeply influenced by America’s biggest cultural exports – rhythm ’ n’ blues, country, jazz and rockabilly – ‘‘ living the dream’’ doesn’t even begin to sum up Lane’s fairytale year so far.
‘‘ In the same respect as Willy Wonka, it’s like a mystery until you go in there and you can’t really explain it when you get out,’’ Lane says of the studio, down the line from LA.
‘‘ You’re not allowed to take photos or anything like that – it’s all very private. The attention to detail is mind-boggling and everything is perfectly co-ordinated. It’s very much white, black and yellow [ the Third Man colours].
‘‘ Everything looks amazing and sounds amazing and there’s not a single computer in the studio.’’ Though cutting a limited-edition 7’’ on White’s invitation was a huge buzz, it was far more than a one-off creative excursion for an artist who this
month released her debut album, To The Horses. Self-produced in Australia in a similarly stripped-back fashion, the majority of To The Horses was recorded in Studio Ripple, a one-room facility in Sydney’s CBD. Other takes were recorded in Living End frontman Chris Cheney’s Red Door Sounds studio in Melbourne and in a studio at the back of a Melbourne property Lane calls home.
After a life working odd jobs as a waiter, florist and even on a bottling line in a Margaret River vineyard, she says seeing White’s commitment to creativity just before the album’s release has confirmed a desire to forge her own path.
‘‘ It was very inspirational, I think I’d really like to live by a motto of just really having a vision and seeing it through and not kind of wavering,’’ she says.
Lane’s sassy voice jumps from a Billie Holiday croon to a Memphis Minnie snarl in an instant on the brilliant album which, with its spontaneous, roomy, ‘ all the cats back to my place’ production, brings to mind artists such as Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, Holly Golightly and even Amy Winehouse.
‘‘ For me it’s less about specific [ influences] and more about different genres all going in and then what I’ve done for my first album is almost a synthesis of that,’’ she says.
Another synthesis she’s clearly adept at achieving is a mix between modern, rockabilly and pin-up fashion. However there’s one aspect of Lane’s appearance she refuses to change – her crooked teeth.
‘‘ You kind of have to accept your faults as well,’’ she says.
‘‘ I’ve got really, really crazy teeth. I don’t have straight teeth and someone once told me a few years ago . . . ‘ well you’ll have to get your teeth fixed because as soon as you go over to the States they’ll take one look at you and tell you you’re not ready [ and] why are you even over here?’. That’s absolute bull.’’
To The Horses
Out now ( Ivy League Records)