From the first bass note within the driving drum beat you can tell something is different about the new record from Nikki Lane. The backbeat feels like a gutsy strut while the lead guitar feels like a revved up engine shifting gears. Denim & Diamonds comes out firing, spit shining the cowboy boots and tossing on a jean jacket. Produced by Joshua Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Denim & Diamonds has the Highway Queen embracing a more rock-oriented sound while still maintaining the heartfelt outlaw country sound she has developed across her previous three releases. Denim & Diamonds still has the fuck-off flare of which Nikki has come to be known. Her stylized, story-telling lyrics are all there as well as her catchy country hooks. The outlaw country sound is now balanced out with a gritty guitar and a machine gun snare that echoes the sound of 70’s rock. Nikki Lane has made a record that sounds new and old. Familiar and surprising. She embraces where she has come from, (“First High”, “Born Tough”) the lessons learned along the way, (“Good Enough”, “Try Harder”) all while doing things her way, (“Denim & Diamonds”, “Black Widow”).