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Danni Nicholls on Recording ‘Mockingbird Lane’ in Nashville

Danni Nicholls, British country singer/songwriter. (Image: Danni Nicholls)
Danni Nicholls, British country singer/songwriter. (Image: Danni Nicholls)

Danni Nicholls is an incredibly talented British songwriter with strong roots in Americana music. She is a spellbinding performer with such authenticity and a rich voice like an old-school country singer.

Nicholls grew up in Bedford, United Kingdom, listening to her grandmother’s old record collection. At the age of 16, she inherited her uncle’s 1963 Burns London Shortscale Jazz guitar, rumored to have belonged to Billy Fury (an English rockabilly singer from the late ’50s to mid ’60s).

Mockingbird Lane Album recorded in Nashville. (Image via Danni Nicholls)

‘Mockingbird Lane’ album recorded in Nashville. (Image via Danni Nicholls)

The day she rented the Johnny Cash film Walk The Line was the day she decided: “I want to do this with my life.”

All these early influences come pouring out in her music.

Crossing the Atlantic to record in East Nashville again — Mockingbird Lane was just released a few days ago. The title is taken from a line from track 7 of the album Beautifully Broken. The album is much rawer and grittier than her debut, far more ‘live’ sounding.

Nicholls heart-felt live performance at King's Place, London. (Image: Richard Thorpe)

Nicholls’ heartfelt live performance at King’s Place, London. (Image: Richard Thorpe)

Nicholls had come to Nashville with her part recorded for the album, so she was incredibly lucky to just sit back on the sofa and watch the magic unfold as the rest of the Nashville musicians did their part. Chris Donohue was on bass, Bryan Owings on drums, Will Kimbrough on guitars, and Ralph T Lofton on keys — superb!

If we jump back a few years, the credits on her critically acclaimed 2013 debut album A Little Redemption include the legendary Al Perkins on Dobro (Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, The Rolling Stones) and Steve Fishell on Pedal Steel (Albert Lee, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt).

Watch Danni Nicholls ‘Long Road Home’ (3 min 39 seconds the song starts) with The Big Comfy Sessions:

Nicholls love of Nashville:

“I’d had this burning desire to get to Nashville, to soak up the energy, and see where my heroes made their music. In 2010, I did a month-long road trip in the States, went to Tupelo to Elvis’ house, Sun Studios, Memphis, the whole musical pilgrimage thing, but I’ll never forget the time we first stepped onto Broadway. I couldn’t believe I was actually on the famous honky-tonk street where the likes of Johnny and Patsy had walked. Locals sometimes dismiss it as just a tourist trap, but I’ve been many times now, and I still love it. The musical history of that town is like a fairytale. I dreamt as a child of going to Nashville to make music, and it’s now happened —twice.”

Danni Nicholls alongside her guitar collection. (Image via Danni Nicholls)

Danni Nicholls alongside her guitar collection. (Image via Danni Nicholls)

If recording in Nashville was a dream come true, so was watching her songs take shape with a band. Especially on new album Mockingbird Lane, take a listen and see what you think, or catch her live on tour — a setting where Danni’s songs really shine and translate gloriously from the recordings to the stage.

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