January 1, 2011
‘Highway Angel’ Singer Performs One Hell Of A Show
Savvy politicians “work the room”. Athletes who single-handedly affect the outcome of a contest are “gamechangers”, and the best entertainers “bring down the house”. And on a recent trip in Nashville, I got to watch a 5’3” dynamo named Lindsay Lawler do all three.
While in Music City to attend an industry event on driver recruiting and retention, someone suggested I come to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge to see Lawler, who recently recorded the Highway Angel song for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). For the past 50 years, people have been clapping hands and stomping feet at Tootsie’s, the Nashville bar where singers have taken the stage in hopes of being discovered – so I knew I would have a good time.
What I experienced was like watching the Tasmanian Devil with a twang.
Lawler attacked the stage and electrified the audience by belting out powerful, original vocals with that would resonate with those in attendance from the trucking industry. No stranger to the music scene, Lawler has been performing all over the country from a young age – and her stage presence shines.
A “Texahoman,” Lawler was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas where she began singing in church and at various country venues throughout the South. While attending the University of Oklahoma, she fronted a rock band that recorded and toured the Southwest. After graduation, Lawler packed up and moved out West to Los Angeles and fronted the band Ciattic, which packed houses all along the Sunset Strip. Lawler never ceased to amaze audiences at the likes of the famous Whisky-A-Go-Go, Viper Room and The Roxy. In addition, her band recorded a full-length album and toured subsequently.
But Lawler saw a void of passion in her music and decided to return to her country roots. Lindsay has since relocated to Nashville and is currently writing with some of the city’s top songwriters. Lawler has become a regular performer at Tootsie’s, where major stars still pop in from time-to-time to play. During her resident gig at Tootsie’s, Lawler has shared the stage with the likes of Kenny Chesney, Jamey Johnson and Kid Rock.
She used some family roots to connect with the trucking industry, as her father had some relationships through the insurance world. In fact, trucking is one of the themes on her new original CD, Train Wreck, which Lawler gave to me while signing autographs after her Tootsie’s performance.
I was intrigued by the cover image of her backed up to the grill of a semi truck, and was able to listen to the CD the next day. Fortunately, I also had the opportunity to see Lawler perform at Tootsie’s again that night, and interviewed her after another sizzling set. When asked about the image she chose for the CD, Lawyer said, “My album is rockin’ country, and with songs on it like Truckers And Rodeo Crowds, it just felt right for a powerful semi to be the cover of the record!”
Lawler says she has a special connection with truck drivers. “While playing at Tootsie’s, I have met several drivers that are passing through town or waiting on a load. I spent quite some time talking to each of these awesome people and hearing their amazing stories,” Lawler stated. “I quickly realized that this was an industry similar to my own, since musicians are also constantly on the road. We share similar issues such as leaving family behind and meeting new people every day, so I decided this was an awesome group of people to tap into and that making trucking music was to be my new agenda.”
Lawler understands how to promote her music, having a background in radio as well. She is known to many from her stint as a radio personality with the Star 98.7 Afternoon Drive Show out of Los Angeles and the syndicated Kidd Kraddick in the Morning show out of Dallas, which she is still occasionally featured on today. To reach to the trucking masses, Lawler was recently in-studio with Dave Nemo on Sirius/XM satellite radio, and she is also attending various trucking conventions and events.
Along the way, Lawler met the good people at TCA, who had thrown out the idea of having her write a song for their Highway Angel program. When this was initially proposed, Lawler said her first reaction was how could she write a song that was not horribly “cheesy” or depressing. “I sat down with my producer and good friend Chris Roberts in a writing session one Tuesday afternoon, and literally within a few minutes we knew right away the direction of the song,” Lawler said. “It did withstand a few edits; however the song came out just as we had hoped, and after sending a copy of the lyrics to TCA and various other members of the trucking industry, everyone was on board to have it become the title song for the program. We got into the studio to produce the track, and it came out very powerful; we are very proud of the production.”
Lawler says the initial contact with TCA has become an awesome partnership. “I had the honor to meet Chris Burruss, president of TCA, in Dallas at the Great American Trucking Show while debuting the Highway Angel song, and I was humbled to be named the first honorary Highway Angel,” Lawler said. Lindsay wears her Highway Angel pin with pride and says she is looking forward to bringing a positive message and music to the good people the trucking industry employs. “We’re looking to record a few new tunes and put out a new EP with Highway Angel early next year,” Lawler added. As of this writing, Lawler was preparing to sing at the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl, with several others venues on tap for 2011.
For folks lucky enough to see Lawler live, take advantage of the seeing this performer not only take the stage – but also OWN it. In the meantime, check her out online, where Lindsay has started a blog that features stories from the road, her music, her trucking ‘peeps’ and various other odds and ends. It’s called The Long Haul and can be found at www.longhaulerlawler.com/typepad. You can also visit her fan page at www.facebook.com/lindsaylawlerfans as well as www.lindsaylawler.com. Both sites have pictures, videos, and music.