Nikki Lane

Walk of Shame

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Any woman who covers Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied" on her debut album is a gal with something to prove, and Nikki Lane is a singer and songwriter who makes it very clear on Walk of Shame that you do not want to get on her bad side. Born in South Carolina and living in Nashville after stops in New York and Los Angeles, Lane is a spunky firecracker whose music merges retro-rock with old-school country while infusing the whole with a dose of punky adrenaline; most of the songs on Walk of Shame were written in the wake of a bad romantic breakup, and Lane's tone here ranges from muted disappointment to dish-smashing anger, but even though she's in the market for a new romance (and she makes the recipient of her attentions on "Coming Home to You" sound like a very lucky man), forgiving and forgetting don't come easy for her. Lane's voice is big and sassy, though she sometimes overplays the sharper edges of her Southern accent, and when she emotes, she makes sure it carries to the last row of the balcony; figure in the deep, echoey production that recalls Neko Case's early albums without the same emotional gravitas, and you have a talented artist who is still learning the finer points of making her music work in the recording studio. But Lane has confidence to spare and a voice that lives up to her own self-worth, and as a writer she can communicate the ups and downs of love with intelligence and bold wit. Considering that Nikki Lane had been writing songs for a mere four years when she recorded Walk of Shame, it's an impressive achievement from an artist who is more than just promising, and if she could use a bit of polish when she tells you she can't be satisfied, you might find yourself working up the courage to offer to try.

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