Too many record companies have been looking for the next Taylor Swift when they should’ve been looking for the next Lee Ann Womack. Cue Lainey Wilson.
We’re sat on dilapidated sofas in a dressing room in London’s Bush Hall, where ‘newcomer’ Lainey is about to open for Chase Rice. She’ll be performing a handful of songs from her independently released EP and, unlike with many of her contemporaries, there’ll be no debate about whether or not her music is country.
“I Love every kind of country music but if you listen to the way I talk, you can tell that I’m not real pop country.
…The way that I talk is the way that I sing and there’s no other way to do it, this is what comes out.”
She’s referring to her strong Louisiana accent, which is the reason in one of her songs “thank her” rhymes with “finger”. It doesn’t rhyme when I sing along.
“I’m from a town of 300 people [farming community, Baskin] so traditional country music really is the way we live and country music just lives in us. Then growing up, I’d always heard that if you wanna do something with country music, Nashville is the place to be.
…I’ve always known that I was gonna find out how to get there one way or another.”
Her way was in a camper trailer, arriving armed with years of songwriting experience which had her working with artists like Luke Combs (Sheriff You Want To). I’m not sure what the very first songs she wrote, aged just nine, were like but these days they are a mix of poetic, sometimes sassy, storytelling gems which are becoming harder to find. Now, she’ll not just be writing them for other singers.
It’s taken me a while to really figure out my own sound…
…but I feel like after years of doing it over and over every single day and writing thousands of songs, you start to figure it out.”
The years of graft have led, at last, to signing a deal with Broken Bow Records this summer. They’re the ones to thank for this; her very first show in – and trip to – the UK.
“This is actually one of the first things that we’ve done as a label, and this is what they hooked me up with.
…It’s pretty cool starting here!”
Lainey landed at Heathrow this morning and has turned up in her signature black denim bell bottoms and platforms, outwardly more hippie than cowgirl. She, like so many country artists who come over, has heard the reputation of British audiences as crowds who listen intently. With the original concepts of her tracks like Dreamcatcher and Two Story House, I’ve no doubt she’ll indeed have our full attention.
Lainey’s currently writing for her next record, planned for release early next year. I only hope that this next collection of songs doesn’t lose the traditional – though not dated – country sound that she loves and delivers flawlessly. I’m already craving more of what I’ve heard so far.
SEE LAINEY WILSON LIVE: Lainey will be performing as part of Saturday’s Country Music Week Daytime Hub: 13:30, 27th Oct, Borderline, Tickets £14