Burning guitars with Jordie Lane
JORDIE Lane casually plucks an acoustic guitar and sings warmly through his thick beard, while a weathered old hat sits on his head like icing on a carefree cake. But beneath the charm, inner demons have been stirring.
The title of Lane’s new album Blood Thinner, to be released on August 8, developed during a recent soul-searching trip to the United States.
“It’s less about a specific drug or pill and more about trying to find that one thing that settles you down, makes you feel safe, protected,” Lane tells Pulse.
“Things have happened in my personal life that have made me question my, and other people’s, motivations for things. I was going to the US on a journey to work out what was going on with myself.”
The humble singer-songwriter released his debut album Sleeping Patterns in 2009 to widespread acclaim, but the process was stressful.
“There were 14 people working on it, a lot of pressure with times, people telling me what to do, and a lot of money involved. And then the worry if anyone was going to like it.”
Two years later, and without musical intentions, Lane hopped a plane to the US in search of spiritual satisfaction.
“I got over there and was like, ‘I need a purpose’.”
He stayed in Room 8 at The Joshua Tree Motel, California, where Gram Parsons (the Godfather of country-rock) overdosed on drugs and died from respiratory failure.
“Lying in that bed, I felt more comfortable than I’ve felt in a long time,” Lane says.
Inspired by Room 8, Lane took a guitar out to the middle of the desert, covered it in lighter fluid, and set it on fire. It was a gesture of freedom.
“That’s what started the momentum for feeling like I wanted to write these songs,” he says.
After drifting around the US for a while, he returned to The Joshua Tree Motel to record songs on an old four-track cassette-tape recorder. Instruments were scarce.
“I thought, ‘Okay, I’ve got this recorder, two pretty crappy microphones, and what else have I got around me to make the sound of a band?’.”
He started banging boxes and tapping wine glasses with kitchen cutlery. They became the drums and percussion on the album.
“Usually I’d think about doing something, then I’d think about it more, and more, until I’d spent so much time thinking about it I’d decided it wasn’t a good idea,” Lane says. “I stopped thinking and just started doing.”
With dark themes of anxiety, guilt, and betrayal at the fore, Blood Thinner elaborates on its equally poetic, but less confronting predecessor.
Strong vocal harmonies and rumbling percussion manifest like the carriages of a steam-train headed into uncharted territory.
Lane is honest about the new direction and acknowledges it is very different. “Some people will like it, some won’t.”
A four-piece band is accompanying him on a hectic 20-show Australian tour to promote Blood Thinner.
“I’ve never done a tour this packed in, but that’s how I like it.”
Jordie Lane plays Mullum Civic Hall on Saturday, August 6, 7.30pm. Tickets $16/10.