Nikki Hill – Artist of the Month

The Western Boot Barn shares great music with you

Those who have seen Nikki Hill sing her ass off agree—this isn’t just another newcomer on the scene, this is a ‘whiplash’ moment. Where did this fireball come from? Why haven’t I heard of her before? If you haven’t heard of Nikki Hill yet, you soon will, and once you see her perform, you won’t forget her.

Hill and her band (who Nikki deems ‘The Pirate Crew) are climbing to the top of the roots music scene step by step and leaving jaws on the floor along the way. With a no-filter energy, they take all the flavors of American roots music and deliver a sound that will make you believe in rock and roll again! Nikki’s gritty and raw voice with Stax soul dynamics, driving rhythm guitar from Matt Hill, and a tight rhythm section provided by Ed Strohsahl and Joe Meyer come together and make a sound that just sounds like the truth.

Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, Nikki comes by her Deep South soul honestly. Her musical roots began while singing in gospel choirs at church as a child. A stint living in nearby college town Chapel Hill introduced her to many different styles of music and the awareness of music (and more importantly, unique and non-mainstream music) as a possible career. After pairing up with her guitar-playing husband Matt Hill, they have made an unstoppable team and have established themselves as roots rock and roll powerhouses!

Nikki Hill’s self-titled EP released in June of 2012 created a heavy and sudden international underground buzz that the band has traveled with from state to state and overseas. Those 4 tunes penned by Hill herself, proved that they have an energy that appeals to everyone who is ready to dance, drawing crowds from every avenue at their shows. One club advertisement will call Nikki “The Southern Fireball”, “the new soul sensation”, “amazing R&B shouter”, and even “the new Queen of Rock and Roll”. Moving into 2013 with more songs, more energy, and a desire to play their music for the world, the band is still gaining momentum and appear to have no plans of stopping, as they are continuing to tour all over the United States, Europe and Australia after Hill’s newest debut full length album Here’s Nikki Hill, released in April 2013, helps them spread their message of rock ‘n’ soul to believers and new converts everywhere!

If you haven’t heard of her yet, prepare for your ‘whiplash moment’—you have been warned.

Nikki Hill has arrived!


Artist of The Month: Patty Griffin

Patty Griffin born in 1964 is the quintessential singer-songwriter in the American country music tradition. She has been covered by everyone from Emmylou Harris to the Dixie Chicks and is the last word in respected country singers.

Patty Griffin has just released her seventh album American Kid, her first album of original material since 2007’s Children Running Through. We absolutely love the album here at the Western Boot Barn, it is without a doubt one of our top albums for the year – and we are only in May!

There is a quality to Griffin’s voice that is unmistakable. It is worth noting that the album was written as a tribute to Patty’s father, on her own website it quotes:

[the album] was written to honor my father”

Her website goes on to say:

“ …it features a group of remarkably powerful, personal and unpredictable songs arranged and performed in a style that doesn’t entirely repeat anything she’s done on her previous albums while drawing on all of them.”

You can watch the video for the first single ‘Ohio’ a duet with Robert Plant right here.

You can order the album from Amazon here or visit for more information.

The Impact of War

Since leaving school, most of us will have never worn a uniform, let alone as a member of the armed services or the police force, so it is very difficult or impossible to fully appreciate the experience of working in a military zone on active duty either as a combatant or as a peacekeeper and the issues faced when eventually returning home. Whether we agree with going to war or not, many young men and women enrole to serve their nation unquestionably, deserving our support in any way we can offer.

Troy Park, after Afghanistan

In 2011 Australian artist Ben Quilty travelled to Afghanistan attached to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as part of the Australian War Memorial’s program of commissioning war artists, which was initiated during the First World War. Ben travelled to Kabul, Kandahar and Tarin Kot to undertake the commission of recording and interpreting the experiences of Australian service personnel.


An exhibition of his work entitled “After Afghanistan” is touring Australia (tour information) and includes sketches the artist made during his tour and over twenty studio paintings made after his return. The paintings include depictions of the machinery of war, while the majority focus on portraits of service men and women. These images convey a strong emotional and psychological power, capturing the impact the war has on those at the frontline. The exhibition in many ways tells the story of the “aftermath” of war from the artist’s perspective and from the close relationship he formed with his subjects.

Please watch this compelling video of an interview with Ben Quilty to better understand what he is conveying through his work.

Artist of the Month: Lanie Lane

 Lanie Lane is the stage name of Lanier Stefanie Myra Johnston an Australian country influenced songstress. With influences of early rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and rockabilly, Lanie Lane is fast becoming one of the most distinctive voices in Australian music and her 2011 debut album ‘To The Horses’, reached number 12 in the Aria Album Chart.

“As in my writing sessions, when I record, I much prefer to capture what’s happening then and there to make sure the rawness of the music and band energy isn’t lost in obsessive retakes!”says Lanie. “I love recording with my band all together in the same room.”

In the same way she chooses to record to capture a moment, Lanie writes quickly and constantly.

“I feel it’s so important to capture the song at THAT moment. I owe it to the song. And if that’s when it has chosen to come out, then come out it must. I get inspired by the most unexpected things… you can never know when inspiration will hit, and it’s an interesting and
 distinctive feeling when it does. You just know. And all that you can do at that moment is to 
get out the guitar, pen and paper and start singing.

The other day I wrote ‘(Oh Well) That’s What You Get (Falling in Love With A Cowboy)’
 because apparently I said that in my sleep. Of course I had to write a song about that.
 There is so much to write about – it’s never ending. ‘Betty Baby’ is about my ‘in-the-wars’
 guitar, ‘What Trouble Is’ is about hurting someone terribly and having to live with it and ‘The
Devil’s Sake’ is basically about going to a dive bar to drink and dance. The list goes on…”

At the 
beginning of 2011, Lanie won a slot on the Sydney Big Day Out line-up thanks to Triple J’s
Unearthed competition. Since then Lanie
 has performed sold-out shows at the Sydney Festival and Adelaide Fringe, to a packed 
Splendour in the Grass audience and toured with the likes of Justin Townes Earle & Clare 

Somewhere in amongst all that, she found the time to accept an invitation from the one-and only
 Jack White to record a couple of tracks in his Nashville studio.

Check out our favourite song by Ms. Lane called Oh Well, That’s What You Get Falling In Love With A Cowboy below:

For more information check out the official Lanie Lane website at

February Artist of The Month: Keith Urban

You might know him as ‘Mr Nicole Kidman’ – or even as the super-friendly judge on the Australian 2012 series of “The Voice” but there is much more to superstar Keith Urban.

New Zealand-born and Australia-raised, Keith Urban moved to Nashville in 1992. His first American album came as a member of The Ranch (1997), followed by an increasingly accomplished series of multi Platinum-selling solo albums: Keith Urban (1999), Golden Road (2002), Be Here (2004), and Love, Pain & the whole crazy thing (2006). The compilation Greatest Hits: 19 Kids (2008) included such Number One hits as “But For The Grace Of God,” “Somebody Like You” (which was named the top country song of the decade), “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me,” “You’ll Think Of Me,” “Days Go By,” “Making Memories Of Us,” “Better Life,” and “You Look Good In My Shirt.”

Urban has been honoured with Grammy Awards, Country Music Association Awards, Academy of County Music Awards, a People’s Choice Award, American Music Award and Australia’s coveted Aria Award. His remarkable musical gifts have also brought him to places where country superstars have rarely gone before, including such very recent appearances as a blazing rendition of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Tumblin’ Dice” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a powerful rendition of “Lean on Me” alongside Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow on the Hope for Haiti telethon and a CMT Crossroads taping with John Mayer.

Keith’s last album ‘Get Closer’ was released in 2010 and paid homage to his life as a family man, father and husband. Given the amount of time since his last studio release it is reasonable to expect that Urban may release a new album sooner rather than later!

Keith said of his last album “I just think there’s more love in this album, and that permeated everything and made the music deeper,” he says. “I loved making this record. I felt a tremendous sense of balance in my life, as a husband and a father and a musician who gets to go and try to capture all that and harness it and create something.”

Did you go to his February show in Brisbane? Tell us about it in the comments or on our Facebook page.