MELBOURNE singer-songwriter Jordie Lane went on a holiday to the US with a plan to do a little bit of sight-seeing and pay homage to one of his favourite musicians, the late country artist Gram Parsons.
The rewards of this trip were far more than he expected - Lane returned home with his second album, the Americana-infused Blood Thinner.
"I'd gone to America just for a holiday," Lane explained.
"I knew I needed a purpose and one thing I thought to do, that I had a strong urge to do, was stay in the hotel room where Gram Parsons had gone and died.
"So I booked a night in room 8 at the Joshua Tree Inn.
"As soon as I got to the room I felt comfortable and I wrote a song straight away (opening track Diamond Ring).
"Then I decided not to fly back to Australia and I never got on the plane from LA to Melbourne. I went back out to Joshua Tree."
Lane's pilgrimage involved buying a cheap guitar in Los Angeles and setting fire to it at the spot at Joshua Tree where Parsons' body was cremated (after it was stolen from the morgue by his manager, in compliance with Parsons' wishes).
As he spent more time in the US, Lane began accumulating songs, and soon he borrowed a four-track recorder from a guy that turned out to be Grammy Award-winning producer Tom Biller (Beck, Kanye West).
"Later I found out his credentials as a producer," Lane laughed.
The Melbournite started recording his tracks, saying he "felt really good about recording at the time... totally felt like an accident", but he had no intention of it becoming an album
"Everything fell into place," he said.
"(It wasn't) until... May when I really decided this is a record. A lot of the recordings were really just out there having fun and experimenting. It was very different to previous recordings.
"One of my favourite albums is Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, which gave me the confidence that it's okay to do a record on cassette tape.
"He was just doing that as demos for the E Street Band and they said to leave it like that."
Lane reteamed with Biller, often gathering in Biller's garage after midnight, to put together the finished versions of the tracks, still on four-track.
The haphazard and spontaneous approach to recording can be heard through the album - there's no bass guitar, kick drums are often replaced with cardboard boxes or guitar cases, and wine glasses become instruments.
"We could have kept going once we tranferred it to computer because we didn't have four tracks any more but we still recorded everything on cassette tape and kept to that initial idea," Lane said.
"It's definitely not a crisp shiny record. LA people love that and (Tom Biller) does do a lot of that, but the beauty of him is working with what you want to do and what makes you comfortable.
"Even though it was done with cassette there's less space than reel-to-reel but it still has that quality.
"We used stage mics, no compression... the mastering engineer couldn't master it as loud as every other record that's going around today."
Lane said the record doesn't sound like Parsons, although he does cover one of his songs (I Just Can't Take It Anymore).
"But definitely got very inspired by Gram Parsons and the environment," he said.
"I watched these docos about Joshua Tree and Gram would hang with Keith Richards and party and watch out for UFOs and I thought I want to do that too.
"I like UFOs, I like partying! It instantly felt like the thing to do when I went to America. It wasn't just him and that room, but that desert... there's this calm but strong force about it.
"I felt a bit uncomfortable at first (staying in the room where Parsons died), like what am I doing it for? Would it be awkward? Would it be disrespectful?
"I'm not into ghosts and I didn't see anything weird. But I felt very energised... as if there was someone there telling me to feel good.
"I'm 26 years old. He died at 26, I think exactly 37 years before I was in there, maybe the anniversary was two days later.
I didn't tell mum that. My friends and I drank the same tequila as him and sat out in the desert like him. And there was definitely an energy in that room."
Jordie Lane and his band perform at The Loft in Warrnambool on Wednesday night with support from Mike Noga (of The Drones) and Mailors Flat export Jackson McLaren. Doors open 6pm, music from 9pm.