Mandi Layne & The Lost Highway
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Mandi Layne & The Lost Highway

Birch Run, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Birch Run, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Country Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jul
30
Mandi Layne & The Lost Highway @ Country Music BBQ & Bourbon Festival

Traverse City, MI

Traverse City, MI

Jul
23
Mandi Layne & The Lost Highway @ Waterfowlers for Warriors

Linwood, MI

Linwood, MI

Jul
08
Mandi Layne & The Lost Highway @ Princess Wenona Cruise

Bay City, MI

Bay City, MI

Music

Press


BAY CITY, MI – Throwing a party when a new CD hits the market isn't so unusual, but with something to really celebrate in "Country 2 the Bone," Mandi Layne and her bandmates in the Lost Highway are doing it up right Saturday, June 28, at Lumber Barons.

"We're opening with Brian Gallagher and then, if he can make it up, songwriter Greg Stryker will do an acoustic set," said Layne, who recently returned from Nashville's CMA Music Festival.

There, for the second year in the row, Mandi Layne and the Lost Highway were one of less than 50 emerging bands from around the country invited to put up a booth at the fan fest.

"Magician and comedian Cameron Zvara will do some tableside magic before he takes the stage. And at midnight, we're going to perform our whole album, from start to finish. There's such a great vibe to it; it's good-time music."

The fun begins at 8 p.m. And it caps a journey that just a few years ago the Saginaw band thought it could never afford.

"When I first talked to the Dark Horse studios in Nashville about recording a few songs there, they wanted to know what kind of budget we were working with," remembered guitarist Greg Kevorkian, who was eager to work with the teams behind Taylor Swift, Alison Krauss, Tim McGraw and more.

"I told them we could pull together about $10,000 for a few songs and then market them to get more sponsorships for the rest of the album."

That was the going price for a single song, he was told, and even though the people there thought the band could come up with the rest on the strength of one good recording, Kevorkian balked at an investment that could top $150,000.

"You would have to see this place to believe it," he said. "It's off the beaten path, with a big castle in the middle of the ranch. It's run by Robin Crow, a musician turned motivational speaker, and you live there while you're recording."

The grounds also hold an audio engineering school and that's how, a couple of years later, Layne, Kevorkian and the others found themselves living in the castle for the first of three, three-week sessions.

"A student there working on his thesis asked our bass player, Gary Rivers, if he knew of any band that was ready to go with an album of all original music," Kevorkian said.

Matt Bigler, who knew his way around the studio through work with Curb Records, produced the album at cost for his thesis. Doing it this way also allowed them to use their own musicians, including Rivers and guitarist Matt Bryan. They also linked up with Stryker, who has a solid reputation in Nashville, and a session drummer who had worked with Paul McCartney, Kansas and more to help them through a lapse before Mark Sutton joined them.

To capture the live energy of a Mandi Layne and the Lost Highway show, the musicians were scattered around the studio in their own glass-sided booths, within sight of each other as they played together. And then it was all mastered by the same fellow who put Jason Aldean's work together.

"We were really, really lucky," Kevorkian said. "I couldn't believe this was happening and Matt nailed it. We couldn't be happier."

It's an upbeat album with a good vibe, Layne said, and while the album wasn't available at the fan fest, "we handed out more than a thousand free song downloads. It was so crazy; we were meeting people from Hong Kong and Australia who were taking our music home."

Already, she said, the band is meeting with a media group interested after hearing one song and requesting a copy of the full album. Fans will get a chance to hear it all and buy their own copy on June 28. For more information, go to the band's Facebook page.

"If this meeting doesn't work out, we'll go on to the next," Layne said. "There are moments in this business when you wonder why you're doing this but it's so rewarding on the back end, when you meet fans and watch them loving your songs. It makes all the time you spend dragging equipment around worth every minute."

If you can't catch the band on June 28, head on July 18 to Friday Night Live's Country Night at Morley Plaza in Saginaw where it opens for Chris Stapleton and on Aug. 7 to Party on McCarty in Saginaw Township where they perform with the 25 Cent Beer Band and Rachael Seamon.

Mandi Layne and the Lost Highway will soon head to a little town in Mississippi, just outside Tupelo, to perform for an appreciative audience they discovered while heading to Memphis to record at the legendary Sun Studio.

"We recorded three songs but they're more of a rockabilly-bluegrass style," Layne said. "It's so overwhelming to play places like that, Sun Studio, the Ryman and Tootsie's in Nashville and Dark Horse studio, where so many great people performed before.

"For a little girl from Birch Run, it's awesome." - MLIVE Saginaw NEWS


I’ve been a fan of country music since Hector was a pup, and whenever I stepped up to this piss pot in Bradley’s Barn, he would growl and snarl like he wanted to go first. Hector was a first rate pissant when I look at it from the long view. I truly appreciated country music innovator Owen Bradley and his vision of melding rock and country and establishing a whole new genre called Country Rock.

Sure The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers copped a feel on the breast of new wave, but it was Michael Nesmith from The Monkees who gave it sepia-toned realism. In 1968 The Beau Brummels recorded a masterpiece and they named their LP Bradley’s Barn, go figure. It received an incredible outpouring of critical acclaim as a unique and bold musical statement that fused rock and country with more originality than the young hippie-dudes who tried too hard to sound like the Louvin Brothers.

Fast forward to 2007 when Mandi and the boys won the 98.1 Rising Star competition. It was the beginning of a long and fateful journey for Mandi and her musical partner Greg Kervorkian. From the very start the band has insisted on core instrumental precision and great vocals. The band has virtuoso abilities with the use of electric and acoustic guitars, mandolins, banjo slide, pedal steel, drums and dobro.

But the most alluring instrument of all is Mandi Layne’s incredible voice. She has a three-octave range and can sing low and sexy or hit the higher registers like a banshee conjuring up a spirit. She is not afraid to belt it out soulfully, channeling Janis Joplin singing Down on Me or goofing on Loretta Lynn’s down home wisdom. She’s got the gris gris and it is a powerful notion!

The disc contains 11 original songs that cherry-pick what’s best in modern country music. Mandi Layne can hold her own with anybody in the biz. She’s got powerful lungs; a willing diaphragm and can sing from the gut to the back of her throat. Case in point is the opening track, Summer Song. Layne’s pure alto soars with the music and lifts the song into the whole beach vibe. She’s backed up by organ flourishes and jangly guitar. Mandi and her pals Greg Stryker and Kervorkian wrote the music and lyrics that evoked a perfect summer’s day…sun and sand and the deep blue water.

They do not stand on their laurels - instead they shift gears like a NASCAR pit crew. Speck on the Map is a little tone poem about hometown boys, stock car races and Sunday church. This tune cranks out a powerful musical landscape that gets plain folks dancing to rock & roll and country and getting a righteous groove on. Gary Rivers’ Hammond B-3 pulls it all together in a powerful blues vibe.

Before Summer’s Gone provides a rich metaphor for growing up and starting to realize that life is not what it seems, our parents aren’t perfect and neither are we. It is a sweet melancholy when leaves turn brown and winter is on the horizon. But Layne stays in the moment, building her memories and her safe place. The melancholy gradually shifts to triumph that scaffolds the acapella verse at the coda. Sweet!

Our First Last Kiss recalls Kid Rock tickling Sheryl Crow’s fancy with his crooked finger and crooked mind. He’s moaning about three damn days. WTF. But Layne turns it around in a sentimental way; and in doing so, evokes the bygone era of George Jones and the Possum Holler. This is a great duet between Layne and Kervorkian. It works despite a link to the mega hit Picture.

Hot Mess is an all out assault on musical ennui. This is a rocker that takes no prisoners. The throbbing bass line alone is a sensory attack on your loins and a slug in the chest. The top-notch rhythm section pulls it all together. This should be a #1 hit with a bullet but…can you say slut in a country song?

Mandi may be hot but she’s got some outlaw in her too. There is a sense of growth and taking chances. This could be a new direction for the band. They are hitting on all the cylinders with that naughty Bo Diddley inspired beat and the driving rhythms on the Hillbilly Stomp. The drummer Mark Sutton is in the pocket throughout the disc. His expert shuffle on Made Me Change My Mind was the glue that held it all together.

Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway are proving their mettle and actively seeking musical partners such as Matt Bigler, Chuck Alzanian and Richard Dodd. The engineering and mixing was done in Nashville and Franklin Tennessee.

The album ends with There Goes the Neighborhood, a Cool Hand Luke failure to communicate but it’s all of kidding on the square. The song has plenty of humanity and Mandi Layne is in top form in this musical spoof. She’s channeling Shania and Patsy Cline with a little Loretta on the side and having good old country fun from cow tipping to name-dropping. It’s like cheering on Billy Joel when he’s spent and out of breath during We Didn’t Start the Fire but he just can’t stop. Cultural milestones are tagged including Daisy Dukes, J. Geils, Ford Fairlaine, Gomer Pyle, Ragweed, Shotguns and Rebel Flags. It’s a crowd-pleasing flourish of name dropping and kidding on the square that should go down well with the fans.

Kudos to Matt Bigler’s clean, crisp production that leaves space for the music to breathe and never too busy but has enough stops and starts to make it interesting. This is a great body of music from one of the hardest working bands in Michigan.

You can purchase the CD at www.mandilayne.com and is also available in all digital formats. - Review Magazine -- Review by Bo White


Mandi Layne was selected out of thousands of entries as one of the top 5 vocalists of the month through Singers Univers
e for her vocals on her original song and title track off her 1st album "Drunk In Love". - Singers Universe


SAGINAW, Mich. -- Over 75,000 people came to Saginaw's Ojibway Island on Saturday. The 98 FM KCQ Country Music Fest turned the island into a sea of people. Joe Nichols. Tracy Lawrence. Jennifer Hanson. Jypsi. The Lost Trailers. Those were the acts that everyone came to see.

The weather started out rainy. But by 10 a.m., the rain ended and everything went on as scheduled. There was mostly cloudy skies above during the entire festival. That didn't dampen the spirit of country music fans who waited hours to stake our their prime viewing spots on the island.

The festival was completely FREE and open to the public. In addition to the music, there was a classic car show and a motorcycle show. There was a little less motorcycles than last year possibly due to the early morning rain. However, there was no shortage of classic cars. There was an arts and crafts tent and a children's area as well. Inside the food tent, there was Famous Dave's BBQ, Culver's Ice Cream, Jet's Pizza and many other food vendors.

Mandi Layne & The Lost Highway kicked off the show at 10:30 a.m. on the New Faces Stage. Then, Backwoods Thunder performed shortly after. Mandi Layne returned to the main stage at noon to perform the national anthem alongside men in the service.

The first national act to perform at the festival was Jennifer Hanson. I have not seen her perform in years. She came out sounding amazing. Hanson kicked off her performance with her new single "Joyride", which is included on her new album Thankful that is available currently on iTunes. She also performed her first hit single "Beautiful Goodbye". Hanson also wrote "Leave The Pieces" for The Wreckers and "A Different World" for Bucky Covington. She sang her versions of those songs for the crowd along with some other songs from the new record.

"This was a blast," said Jennifer Hanson in a one-on-one interview shortly after her performance. "I had so much fun today. I had no idea there would be so many people. It was my very first time and the crowd was phenomenal. They were really kind to me, really welcoming so I enjoyed myself."

Jypsi performed for the second time in the area on the New Faces Stage. Their first performance in Michigan was at the Downtown Hoedown in May. While in Saginaw, the group performed their latest single "I Don't Love You Like That." The group is made up of four siblings all with the last name Rische. They also performed songs off their new self-titled debut album that was released to iTunes.

Tracy Lawrence was the next artist to perform on the main stage. He was amazing as usual. Lawrence has no many hit songs that I am surprised he wasn't tapped as the main headliner. Instead, he came on in the middle of the show at 1:45 p.m. Lawrence performed all of his hit songs including "Sticks and Stones", "Time Marches On", "Paint Me a Birmingham" and his latest number one "Find Out Who Your Friends Are".

The last time I saw Tracy Lawrence was at the Michigan State Fair last August. Since then, he has won an ACM Award and a CMA Award for the song "Find Out Who Your Friends Are". It was a song that featured Lawrence, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.

The Lost Trailers performed on the New Faces Stage at 2:45 p.m. This was the first time that I have seen them in a while. The group is alive as ever and is ready to take on their competition. They performed their hit songs "Call Me Crazy" and "Why Me". The Lost Trailers also sang "Holler Back", the title track of their brand new album that will be released on August 26, 2008. They sounded really good. Look for them to be a possible nominee for Group of the Year award in the upcoming CMA Awards.

Joe Nichols headlined the entire festival at 3:30 p.m. on the main stage. It was his first time at the KCQ Country Music Fest and he brought the house down. There was a funny moment during his show when he asked everyone to raise their beer cans. Well, apparently he didn't know that alcohol was not allowed at the Country Music Fest. Seconds later, Nichols corrected himself said raise your cell phone or whatever you have in your hand.

His performance was amazing. It was hit song after hit song. Nichols performed "The Impossible", "Brokenheartsville", "What's a Guy Gotta Do" and many other hit songs. The crowd laughed during the song "Size Matters (Someday)". I particularly liked when he sang the new single "It Ain't No Crime."

"I've been going since I was about eight with my grandparents", said Brittney Battles of Clio, Mich. She is a huge fan of Joe Nichols. "The Impossible" is her favorite song by him.

The Country Music Fest is organized by Saginaw radio station WKCQ 98.1 FM. The event started in 1992 with its first performers being Trisha Yearwood and Aaron Tippin. Ever since, it has grown into one of the largest FREE country concerts in the region.

Thanks for coming out to the 98 FM KCQ Country Music Fest. We look forward to seeing you in 2009...

CHECK OUT MORE REVIEWS AT

WWW.MANDILAYNE.COM

- AmericaJR


It was an arm wrestling match for the Country Music portion of the 24th Review Awards. No longer spread across the margins among bands and musicians, two groups basically swept away the evening: The 25 Cent Beer Band and Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway.

While a few individual awards trickled in the Country stream, such as Stone Cold nabbing Country Rookie Of The Year, Gary Fobear of the Craig John Band for Best Country Keyboardist, Marty Campbell for Best Country Instrumentalist, as well as the Long Branch Saloon for Best Country Club, it was obvious that Layne and 25 Cent were the past year’s stand-out groups, as both were on hand at the Prime Event Center to collect their respective winnings.

Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway, who also performed a stellar set during the extravaganza, took Best Country Female Singer, Country Band Deserving Wider Recognition, Best Country Songwriter (full band), Best Website and Best Overall Originall Band.

The 25 Cent Beer Band wrapped up Best Country Band while individual awards went to members Steve Armstrong—Best Male Country Vocalist, Pat Manke—Country Musician Deserving Wider Recognition, and Levi Goodwin—Best Country Bassist, ‘Grateful’ Dave Lone—Best Country Drummer, and Steve Hornack—Best Country Guitarist.

The Review caught up with Mandi Layne, vocalist of Lost Highway and 25 Cent’s vocalist Steve Armstrong following the Review Awards to get their take on the past year, the year ahead, and their personal reflections on the Award Show itself.



Mandi Layne:

“The past year has been unbelievable,” said Layne, via Email. “We finished our CD, Drunk In Love, offered a development deal with legendary producer Larry Butler (Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, John Denver, Sammy Davis Jr. and…The Chipmunks). We opened shows for some of the biggest names in country music, played a break neck schedule of shows from here to Nashville (including a three day stint at the most famous country bar in the world, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, and had some great radio interviews here on 98 FM and in Nashville on WKDF, and (then) took home seven awards at the 2009 Review Music Awards.”

While the band’s tour bus ‘LeRoy’ (’87 Chevy Mallard Camper) broke down at an intersection in Ohio on the way back from Nashville, not much else was going wrong for the group last year. The group’s set at the Review Awards showcased a tight band with catchy flare and proved that the chemistry is on fire within the group.

“We knew that the majority of the audience would be musicians and their friends & family and in this area that sometimes means pre-conceived notions of what country music is,” stated Layne. “We had two main goals for the set and they were to showcase originals and to show that much of today’s country music is more classic rock and hard rock then some would think. So we just did what we do and hoped to get and keep some peoples attention.”

Layne and Lost Highway were happy to spend the night mingling with fellow musicians they haven’t seen in a while at the RMA’s.

“We all had a blast! Our schedule is so packed that we never get to see other bands play. The other highlight for us is really just seeing so many old friends like Andy Reed who recorded our CD, Brian Coonan, Troy Miles, Sue White from the Saginaw News and John Nitz from One Pump Daisy.”

“We ran over a giant nail in the parking lot across the street and immediately after our set, we had to change a tire…yea!”


- Review Magazine- by Scott Baker


Performing @ a hockey game just for fun! - AmericaJR.com


Country singer Mandi Layne is making music all over the place, but she stops long enough to join Catch the Muse with Sue at The News..


- Saginaw News


Mandi Layne and The Lost Highway perform during Pride's Friday Night Live Country Rock night.
- Saginaw News


Mandi Layne isn’t too far outside of the big time. Along with her band The Lost Highway, her comfort zone is nestled right within’ the stars and she’s perfectly happy basking in that glow.

Sweeping up six wins at the 2009 Review Awards in the Country category, plus one for band website, the vocalist has been playing out with her group regularly since April of 2007, which marks quite an astonishing feat for such a new young band. The musicians that help make up The Lost Highway feature a group of veterans, including multi-instrumentalist Greg Kevorkian, bassist Craig Wright, guitarist Barry Forster, and drummer Dan Wright.

Currently in the studio recording her debut CD with singer/songwriter pop master Andy Reed, The Review caught up with Layne via Email during a break between cutting vocals and putting together fresh mixes and they took the time to answer some quick questions.

REVIEW: Tell us about sweeping up the Country Awards and how you accomplished that feat.

Mandi Layne: “That was a great night. We honestly didn't think we'd win anything, we thought maybe Rookie of the Year, you know, being a new band. But when we ended up with seven awards on our table we were ecstatic, really blown away. We've all been reading the Review for years and have always wanted to be a part of it so when we were nominated, we just made it a point to talk to people at our shows in the area and tell them we were up for some awards and that they should go on line and vote.”

Review: How long has the band been playing together now.

ML: “We've been together for almost two years, but really serious about it for just over a year now.”

Review: What are some of your favorite venues to perform? Where can people catch you?

ML: The Woodshed in Clio has really been a second home to us. They were the first club to book us steady and they really were taking a chance, because they're more of a rock club. But after a few shows we started packing the place out and it's been great ever since.

We're playing the Pinconning Cheese Town Festival on June 19th and the Davison Motorcycle Club Charity Bike Run for Breast Cancer on June 20th. They call it ‘Save The Ta-Ta's’ which is just great! Later on we're opening for a national act - Carter's Chord out of Nashville in downtown Saginaw for Pride's Friday Night Live Country Night on July 17th and then we're opening for Darryl Worley (who just posed for Playgirl, YIKES!!!) at the Labadie Pig Gig in Bay City on Aug 8th.

Other than that you can usually catch us at The Woodshed in Clio, The Long Branch Saloon in Mt. Morris or The Wagon Wheel in Flint.”

Review: Tell me about the new CD that Andy Reed is helping you produce.

ML: It's called Drunk In Love and is all about just that...drinking, being in love, good times, you know. The big three; Good friends, good whiskey and good lovin'! I honestly cannot imagine this project without Andy. To us he's a member of the band and a true friend. Andy has amazing gear and an incredible working knowledge of that gear. On top of that he's super talented and creative. He's one of those rare individuals that truly love music with all his heart and that shows in this project. We've got a nice variety on this CD - a few down and dirty rockers, a couple smoky love songs, some good, fun, summer time stuff and a couple of real old school country, sing a long, jam songs.

Review: Tell me about the process of writing for the new CD.

ML: It's so much fun. Honestly, there is nothing in this world like creating new music! What's really been happening is this: Something will happen or someone will say something that makes one of us say ‘that sounds like a country song.’ Then we just work out keys, lyrics, chord structure and maybe some instrumentation ideas. We try not to ‘over-write’ a song and let the song breath. Each member of the band is given absolute freedom to do what they feel is right for the song. Craig writes all the bass lines, Dan comes up with all the drumming ideas, and Barry writes all his own fills and leads. Then we just let it ‘marinate’ to see what the song wants to do.

Then we lay it down in the studio and Andy completely trashes and re-writes everything we've worked so hard on...just kidding; but he does really add quite a bit to our music that takes it to the next level.

And then we obsess about it forever. Eventually you come to a point where you say ‘we got it!’ And if not, you scrap it and start over or move on.

Review: Greg says it is hard to get an honest opinion on the music you are creating. What are your goals for the group, long and short term?

ML: There seems to be a stigma attached to country music. The fact is that if much of what was rock in the 70's was recorded and released today, those acts would be relegated to country stations. Most of what the Eagles, The Band, The Allman Brothers and Bob Dylan did would have no home on today's rock radio stations. Country has become an alternative for people who simply like good, melodic music that speaks to them.

But so many people are just blindly prejudiced to country, especially today's country. We hear things like ‘I like real country, you know—Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and George Straight.’ Well, who the hell doesn't? But I think off handedly disregarding an entire genre of music based on a few new artists is just stupid and those people are missing out on some really good stuff.

As far as goals go, we're going to Nashville in June and doing a songwriters showcase there. Then we’re off to Memphis in July to record two original songs at Sun Studios where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins all recorded much of their stuff. I think the next logical step after the CD is finished would be to shop it to record labels and hopefully get on a tour to support it. Then take over the world and make it illegal for radio stations to play only one format and force them to play local artists! Yeah, right…”

Review: Tell us about the members of the band.

ML: “I consider my band to be my best friends. Really we're more like a family than a band. I can't imagine doing all of this with anyone else. Greg, Craig and Dan, have been playing together for years and really provide a solid rhythm that allows Barry and I to do what we do. Barry is our lead guitarist. He's just now 16 years old and quite possibly one of the best guitarists around. Honestly, you've got to see this guy for yourself. But I've working on guitar and mandolin a lot recently so hopefully I'll be playing live with them soon.

Review: Who has the most influence on the marketing of the group?

ML: We all have a vision of what this band is and why it exists. We're very lucky that we all share the same vision. There honestly has not been a single moment where the direction of the band has ever been debated or questioned. We are all on the same page.

Review: Since you are a band that for the most part shuffles day jobs with playing, how and where do you find time for your passion in the music?

ML: This band and this CD are an obsession for every single one of us. It's pretty much all we think or talk about. The thing is when it really becomes a passion; you don't have to make time for it. You find yourself having to make time for work and other things that are a distraction from your passion. Besides, I'm Wonder Woman...I thought you knew that!”

Review: Who are your influences?

ML: Trisha Yearwood was the first to inspire me to start singing country music and I honestly think that Martina McBride has one of the most beautiful and powerful voices ever recorded. Later on I started writing my own songs and was really influenced by the Bangles, believe it or not, and Susan Tedeschi. In high school I was introduced to the southern rock of Drivin ‘N’ Cryin and Kevn Kinney and that has a profound effect on my writing. Most recently though I've discovered the genius of Leonard Cohen and the really great new stuff by Colin Hay - remember him? He was the lead singer for Men at Work. But even now I find myself listening to a new unknown artist and think to myself, ‘man that's great! Why didn't I write that!’”

- Review Magazine


"Drunk In Love" review by Maverick Magazine. - Maverick Magazine


It’s been sometime since the local country scene broke free from its lethargy and came up with something new. Mandi Layne is a fresh face with a rootin’ tootin’ country rock style that will get you starting out tapping your toes and before long have you dancing, drinking shots and hoopin’ n’ hollerin’ like a young and almost skeletal Johnny Cash doing white crosses and black bennies and staying up days on end just to take it all in.

I haven’t heard anything this exciting since the iconoclastic Charlie Klein and the Honky Tonk Zeros wrote about Hank Williams and told the real story. But Layne…she’s into something bigger. Bigger choruses, bigger hooks and a big rich sound. Kudos to Andy Reed who divined a way to merge Owen Bradley’s vision of modern country music with the style and craft of Phil Spector.

Reed is adept at layering sound and building a rich aural landscape that envelope the music. But Mandi Layne and the band deserve much of the credit. They possess spunk and energy and youthful confidence. They have something real that cannot be denied. Layne’s got “it” - an almost indefinable star quality, certifiably hot – an amalgam of Avril Lavigne attitude and the look of Jennifer Love Hewitt. Oh, mama…

Let me take you for a ride to new Virginny where the mist of the apple blossoms kisses your face and the slight southern breeze brushes your hair.

Listen to Mandi Layne and the Lost Highway….

If You Ain’t Wasted opens the disc like a sonic thunderstorm. The fiddle and slide trade off riffs like gunshots. Its like Duane and Dickie doing Whipping Post or the Black Crowes going seriously country. Layne’s vocal is soulful and nuanced. She’s at once both fresh faced and naughty but hasn’t adopted the worn resignation of living life on the edge and experiencing bottomed out misery. She’s still in control and having the time of her life. When she says “Bring it on Boys” she means it. These cats can play

Hell Hath No Fury (like a woman scorned) is a countrified salute to Alanis Morissette’s masterpiece (of a woman scorned) Jagged Little Pill. Layne pulls no punches in her exacting vocal tribute to Morissette’s unique stylized intonations. The quietude of the music swells into a loud, angry and powerful statement. Cobain would be proud! There are several tempo changes and the guitarist Barry Forster is brilliant, sounding more like Hendrix than Willie.

The title tune Drunk in Love is quite intoxicating. Great metaphor- eh? But Layne sings it sweet and straight like Reba on a greatest hits tour or Shania doing AC/DC. I love the line “like a warm shot of whiskey lay me down”- don’t quite know what it means but when Mandi sings it, I just say, “ooh, baby, make it a double”. But don’t get fooled by the metaphor, Drunk in Love is a cool love song.

Star of My Life borrows from the Bon Jovi playbook with the hook coming straight outta You Can’t Go Back. The lyrics convey the dialectic of a life lived to its fullest - sometimes sad; sometimes funny – but always packed with a lot of action. Right on! The well conceived bridge recalls our ghosts from the nursery…“I keep hearing my daddy’s voice, the bigger they are; the harder they fall. I like the stop/start at the end with that classic countdown

1-2-3 I NEED YOU The guitarist plays it like a modern day Thurlow Brown, the cat that showed Levon Helm (The Band) all those bar chords, diminished and augmented things going up and down the neck like nobody’s business!

Brown Bottle Blues is a mid-tempo ballad with minor chord riff. The fiddle and jangly acoustic creates an emotional landscape that holds both longing and the triumph o f the song. The lyrics tell a story about choices. In the end the singer chooses an empowered voice over her lover.

The Simple Side of Life is a perfect companion to Brown Bottle Blues. It’s a minor chord classic that is reflective yet powerful with great close harmonies and a rockin’ Van Halen guitar riff. The protagonist is a little older now and a little bit wiser. The song starts out stark and quiet, a tempo picks up and the instruments buildup and quiet down to accentuate the message – to get back to the simpler pleasures and to remember who we were when we started…when you and I are all we had to do. This is a song about values and integrity and loving honestly. Not easy in this day and age of instant celebrity and mass hypnotic narcissism.

The Biker Song is an elegant up-tempo shuffle (love them shuffle beats) that’s guaranteed to get you off your soggy wrinkled rear-end and up on the dance floor to do the Tennessee two-step and shakin’ it like a jackhammer manhandling a construction worker and he’s liking it. To hell with line dancing, express yourself and do your own thing. The road is a perfect metaphor for the longing in the song. The singer is a risk taker…she got the look and the moxie to explore unchartered waters – to be OK with not knowing. It was pure genius to insert That’s All Right Mama in the coda. I bet Elvis is smiling at the sincere tribute. Excellent song.

NBD is a straight out rocker with a bit of an early Eagles feel. Layne is singing about our necessary losses – like a older sibling coming to terms with the birth of his baby brother and not having mom’s love alone or the loss of innocence (at around age three) when you discover you are a boy and your best buddy Sheila is a girl…yeech – or in this case getting over a failed relationship. Dig the name-dropping from New Kids on the Block to AC/DC and Rainbow Brite. She says getting over all these things is no big deal. But when I look back…I’m not so sure. I don’t covet the past but these memories sure can fill me up.

Chinese Monday is a fantastic title that hints the intimacy in the lyric. It’s a modern love song with a husky vocal, echoed and sensual, that suggests intimacy at the same time she signals uncertainty when she is alone. The fear of abandonment – an existential aloneness like an infant crying in her crib, never certain her cries will ever be heard. But this is an adult tangle of love, sex and intimacy, more than a synaptic connection…it’s the meeting of souls.

Greg Kervokian sings like a sober Dickie Betts on Friends & Lovers. He trades off lead vocals with Layne and when they harmonize, the results are exquisite. The stylistic vocal approach has just the right nuance and intimacy to convey an understated libidinal urgency – like magnet to steel. So… we cross the line between friendship and romantic love. But if you been long-time together, married or otherwise you know deeply and certainly that lovers become friends and perhaps it’s this quality of deep abiding friendship that can sustain us when the heat has gone.

She’s Gonna Get a Life is a lush mid-tempo ballad about crossroads and courage. This is the perfect vehicle for Layne to display the power and range of her incredible pipes. It’s never easy to change your life, even if it is necessary or even the right thing to do. This song’s ending question is really a statement question… life begins at the end of the rainbow - down I-75 south to Tennessee. More pop than country, this could be a big hit on adult contemporary.

Runaway With Me is a modern slap dash rockabilly that would fit perfectly in a Social Distortion set list. This tune is irresistible. From my perch this has all the makings of a hit – great hook, lyrics that are joyful with just a tinge of melancholy, perfect close harmonies – a well conceived and skillful performance! Fiddles, barrel house piano and guitar trills tell the story. This is a sing-a-long crowd pleaser anthem of the highest degree. The closer Straight to Hell is a close cousin to the aforementioned Runaway with Me – is a mid-tempo country outlaw waltz, perfect for line dancing, drinking PBR and screaming HELL YEAH. When Layne sings “I’m going straight to hell – just like mama said” she’s stepping outside her pain and finding her empowered voice. I love this song. It’s bold and defiant and it’s a slap in old mama’s face. That old cracked template ain’t gonna push her around anymore. No shame in the pain. Her soul is free. This is another classic by Mandi and the boys. Instantly memorable.

Check out Mandi Layne and Lost Highway on MySpace and for heaven’s sake buy this CD…it’s the best new music to come down the line in years.


- Review Magazine- Bo White


Discography

2009 "Drunk In Love" by Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway,

recorded at Reed Recording Studio, Bay City, MI

Produced and Engineered by Greg Kevorkian, Andy Reed, Donny Brown

All tracks written by Mandi Layne & Greg Kevorkian except "Straight to Hell" -Kevn Kinney


2014 "Country 2 The Bone" by Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway

recorded at Dark Horse Studio, Franklin, TN

Produced and Engineer by Matt Bigler

All track written by Mandi Layne, Greg Kevorkian & Greg Stryker except

"last time you let me down" and "you made me change my mind" which were written by Mandi Layne & Greg Kevorkian




Photos

Bio

Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway....the beat goes on and on and on with this band. A group of energetic musicians currently calling Michigan their home, however, happily obtaining a second residency in their 15 passenger van. You will likely see them pulling a trailer of gear to their next show somewhere near you. This band is no stranger to performing in a tiny hole in the wall bar in the sticks nor are they a stranger to performing at a concert for 100,000 fans! They have opened for Country acts such as: Blake Shelton, Sara Evans, David Nail, Sam Hunt, Colt Ford, Scotty McCreery, Trent Tomlinson, Billy Currington, Sarah Buxton, Carolina Rain, Mark Wills, Whiskey Falls, Tracy Lawrence, Jennifer Hanson, Joe Nichols, Lost Trailers, Jypsi, Steve Holy, Emerson Drive, Blue County, Carter's Chord, Gloriana, Darryl Worley, Carter Twins, James Otto, Phil Vassar, Christian Kane, Frankie Ballard, Craig Campbell, Justin Moore, Joe Diffie, Blue Highway,Taylor Hicks, Sons of Sylvia and many more. Their drive brings them to all sorts of venues across the region and there is no stopping them. The band was formed in 2007 when they entered into 98.1 FM's Rising Star competition. They won the contest 2 years in a row and have moved forward to pursue a serious career in music. This band has had the opportunity to record at Sun Studio in Memphis, TN in 2009 and again in 2013. They released their debut album "Drunk In Love" in 2009 and had great reviews. Over this past Summer the band has released their Sophomore Album "Country 2 The Bone" which was recorded at Dark Horse Studio in Nashville, TN. Both of their albums consist of original material that they wrote and also co-wrote with the amazing Greg Stryker. For the past 3 years they have been part of the CMA Festival in Nashville, TN as an Emerging Artist at Fan Fair X. Meeting and greeting country fans from all over the world for 4 days each year is definitely a highlight! Mandi Layne was voted "Best Female Vocalist" in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 & 2015 by Review Magazine. The entire band was voted "Critics Choice-Best Country Band" in 2014 and Best Country Band for 2015! With the release of the new album "Country 2 The Bone" the band is causing a buzz and is one the move! Each show is unique and capativating as these musicians know how to reel the crowd in and keep them on their toes singin' along!!




Band Members