Hailing from the song-rich soil of Minneapolis, Brianna Lane is the latest in a deluge of compelling songwriters flooding the region. Lane’s vocals are both confidant and fragile, running parallels to Mindy Smith or a close confidant to Americana veteran Patty Griffin.
Brianna began her career as a young girl, taking piano lessons as an 8-year-old, and eventually quitting to learn things on her own. As an angsty teenager, Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls influenced her young world. She says, “I wanted to write songs but I couldn’t figure out how to do that on the piano, so I picked up my mom’s old guitar and taught myself some chords. I was a camp counselor every summer from ages 16-19. Campfires are always good for learning new folk tunes. I surrounded myself with players and soaked it all up.”
Lane may be well known to many in the Midwest for her past albums and contributions to many projects, including nationally touring songwriter Josh Harty, ex-locals Kevin Steinman, Eliza Blue, locals Jim Walsh, and Jeff Ray, and bike events with Ben Weaver. In her years of touring, Lane has shared the stage with Billy Bragg, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Colin Hay, Dar Williams, Patty Larkin, The Weepies, Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland), and numerous other well seasoned musicians. She has also shared powerhouse, leg-powered bicycle tours with Signature Sounds’ artist Peter Mulvey.
With her latest album, The Navigators Club, Brianna Lane is making a new introduction with her latest collection of solo work since 2007’s Let You In. Released on May 19, 2015, The Navigators Club features 13 songs in the classic singer-songwriter tradition on which she worked with producer Evan Brubaker and her Americana backing band.
Most of the songs were written by Brianna herself, and four co-written with Brad Hoshaw, Brooks West and Jeremiah Nelson — and recorded over the last couple of years as Lane’s life was once again in transition. She divulges, “I wrote a lot of the songs on this record as my last relationship was dissolving and my current relationship was evolving. The songs certainly show hope and desire as well as cynicism and frustration. I was a road-warrior all through my 20s. Eventually, I found balance and earned an alright living by touring in the fall and spring and working seasonal jobs in the summer and winter. Just before I turned 30, I fell in love (again). Life got a little rocky and complicated. I not only fell in love with my current partner, but his kids as well. My girl is 10 and her older brother is 18 and off at college now.”
Behind Lane’s beguiling smile lies a heart that has had its share of heartache where songs like “In My Bones” and “Company” draw their inspiration. Her stories oscillate between a sense of urgency and resolve while seeking a tranquil balance. Brianna Lane is proof that talent, ambition, and honesty still mean something in today’s hyper-stylized and manipulated musical landscape.