Belting out trucking’s voice

James Jailett | June 06, 2012

The Oklahoma native says she got her start “singing in country bars and the church,” but she started a rock band in Texas in college and moved to Los Angeles directly afterward to play Sunset Strip.

In 2008, she took her act to Nashville and had gigs at Tootsie’s Bar four or five nights a week for about two years. “I sang there in four-hour shifts,” she says. “It was hard work, but I started booking my road trips through that. From there I started going on the road, and eventually wound up playing in Dallas at GATS.”

For a short while after, she fit a trucking concert into her schedule here and there, but wound up making a full transition about two years ago. “I decided to quit downtown full-time and wanted to commit to the road.”

She’s since focused her time on trucking conventions, trucking shows and other industry events. Her writing has progressed accordingly. “As a songwriter you learn to be really observant and listen to people,” she says. “Most of my song ideas come from one line someone says.”

She takes suggestions from drivers and fields song ideas daily. There’s no shortage in on-road yarns, either, coming from truckers. “Drivers have the best stories,” she says. “They’re out there every day seeing the world, and it’s interesting to hear it all from their perspective. It gives you another view on things.”

She’s currently in a partnership with TCA and its Highway Angel program, and she wrote and recorded a song about this year’s winner and starred in a music video for the song that TCA produced for promoting Highway Angel. “The trucking industry — that’s my thing, and I couldn’t be happier I found it,” Lawler says. “It’s become what I’m known for in Nashville, and I want to continue to grow in it.”

Her next song is already in the works, too, Lawler says — “One Mile at a Time.”

“I heard a driver give a speech, and he said he takes it one mile at a time,” she says. “I feel like just that line is so identifiable in so many areas.”

She’s planning the details for summer and fall tours now.

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