Friday, 23 November 2012

Feature - Jordie Lane

Published in the EG section of The Age, November 23.
For online version, click here.

This Year of our Lord, 2012, has been the year of Jordie Lane.  The success of Blood Thinner, his second full-length album released last year, has seen him come into his own as a songwriter and artist, and so this year he’s run with it.  He’s no longer a wanna-be muso hanging around the Northcote Social club, he’s the real deal.

The past six months alone have been solid.  In late July, Lane played his musical hero, Gram Parsons, in the acclaimed stage show Grievous Angel: The Legend Of Gram Parsons. Not long afterwards, he was invited to Nashville for the Americana Festival & Conference where he played with country legend Jim Lauderdale, and then back home where he played an extensive support slot to English political folkie Billy Bragg. 

In amongst all this have been his own solo tours as well, and so you could forgive him for wanting to rest for a while, to come to terms with his rising star.  Not so.

During the Bragg tour, Lane released ‘Fool For Love’, a bigger, bolder more electric musical statement than he’s released previously, a song which sees him embracing a new take on his Americana-tinged sounds.  “Well, on the merits of the song itself, that’s just where it wanted to go,” he says on this change.  “It’s just how we wanted it to sound, a nice bit of summer fun.”

The single, a precursor to the follow-up to Blood Thinner (“I am working on the next album, yes,” he confirms), was recorded in the US in May this year, and it’s back to the States that Lane will head in January to, as he says, “smash it out”, looking to have a finished product in April. 

Given his growth over the past year or so though, it’s a fair bet that this one will be different from a songwriting perspective.  Where Blood Thinner was almost a diary of his time following the ‘ghost’ of Gram Parsons, this new one sees Lane in a different place, albeit one he’s not sure of as yet.

“I don’t know where it’s at,” he says of his current motivation, with no small amount of frustration.  “It’s not as clear cut as the [last one]… I feel like it’s going to go more towards those ‘songs on the road’, because I’ve been on the road so much, meeting these fanciful characters… and psychedelics, we’re trying to creep that into the sound as well.”

“[So] we’ve probably tracked five songs, about half [the album], but I really want to record 20 songs, to see which way the album will go,” he goes on.  “There’s stuff with string sections, then there’s stuff that’s a bit more Neil Young Crazy Horse, so it’s all over the place right now.”

It’ll be a hard album for Lane, hard for him to live up to his own expectation (“Yeah, it’s my difficult third album,” he jokes).  But given how much he’s grown, you can bet he’ll pull through.  He’s no longer a wanna-be, after all.

Samuel J. Fell

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