Shaky Knees Death Match: Matthew E. White vs. Nikki Lane vs. The Damnwells


Shaky Knees Festival is less than a week away, now it’s time to start planning out your own personal schedule. 

For those difficult decisions, we present to you the Shaky Knees Death Match. We will have each band in every time slot pitted against each other. You make the decision on who you must catch. Check back daily as we explore each time slot.

Shaky Knees Sunday Day 3, 12:30PM starts out with Matthew E. White at the Piedmont Stage, Nikki Lane at the Ponce De Leon Stage and The Damnwells at the Buford Highway Stage.

Matthew E. White – Piedmont Stage

matthew e white

By Cody Webb

When you first look at Matthew E. White you see a tall burly fella with a rather shy face. Then you press play and hear his music. Looks are deceiving as hell.

Growing up in Virginia Beach, Matthew E. White interned at the well known recording studio MasterSound. Everyone from Justin Timberlake to Snoop Dogg has made sweet sweet music at this place. He went off to school to learn to play jazz guitar and began making music himself. White’s sound is really hard to put my finger on.

His new album “Fresh Blood” that was released has an insane mixed feel of old soul, indie and R&B.  An older album White put out called “Big Inner” had a house band, a choir, a string section and horns. This dude plays every card he has and he plays them right.

I truly, deeply dig Matthew E. White’s style. If you are already a fan more power to you! There would be no way you would miss him play. If you haven’t heard of him, play yourself “Rock & Roll Is Cold” and mosey on over to the stage on Sunday.

Nikki Lane – Ponce De Leon Stage

Nikki Lane

By Cody Webb

If I were to participate in the woman crush Wednesday craze I think I would wear out my welcome with all of social media over Nikki Lane.

She is being called “The First Lady Of Outlaw Country” and anyone that gives her a listen can totally see why. Hearing her sing about broken hearts, booze and going out to find a one nighter brings real country back into play. If Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter had a long lost daughter Ms. Lane would be it.

Hailing from South Carolina and relocating to her now home of Nashville, Nikki really makes you feel those southern roots as she harmonizes with the slide guitar doing what it does best in the background. Those roots are so clearly ingrained in each and every one of her songs.

Lane’s second album was released last year and was produced by the ever so great Dan Auerbach. They did a little diddy together on his album called “Loves on Fire” which is my favorite duet of the year. She will be on tour all summer, playing some shows with Lord Huron, Jenny Lewis and the queen of country herself Loretta Lynn.

Strap on your boots and make sure to bring your good time having self to watch this lady pump out some twangy tunes.

The Damnwells – Buford Highway Stage

The Damnwells

By Mike Gerry

The Damnwells are an indie rock band from Brooklyn, New York who understands the high and lows of the music industry. Formed in the early 2000s with Alex Dezen (lead vocals, guitar, piano), David Chernis (lead guitar), Ted Hudson (bass), and Steven Terry (drums/percussion- former Whiskeytown drummer), Epic Records released their full length debut Bastards of the Beat in 2003. After being dropped by Epic, releasing albums on other labels, growing their audience through tours with bands such at The Fray, releasing another album without a label but through PASTE Magazine, the lineup to The Damnwells changed over the years.

This year the original lineup was restored and they released their fifth self titled album to the delight of their fans. The Damnwells play a great straight forward brand of rock n roll with plenty of 90s influences, alt country at time, and sometimes just good ole fashion rock with a good hook and melody.

This is a band that has powered through the confusing times of an indie rock band in the early 2000s, seeing all the highs and lows, but always remaining true to front man Alex Dezen’s vision, writing songs that at any time could take off and have the crowd singing along. They have continued to build a fanbase with great live shows. This is sure to be a great show at Shaky Knees.

Check out these artists on the Shaky Knees Spotify Playlist


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