Original Midwestern Roots Rock... not quite country, not quite pop, not quite rock-n-roll!

Check out Nikki's brand new music video "This American Dream"! Although we have not been able to come together for live shows or even rehearsals due to cover-19, Nikki has been picking at some things while practicing social distancing. Here is a song that may offer a bit of a hug for what we are all going through in this unprecedented and difficult reality.

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    Where Do I Begin (live)

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    Treasure

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    Love On Fire (live)

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    Fly Like An Eagle (live)

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    It's Time (live)

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    The Road - Nikki Lunden - depends on the weather (2007)

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    Jamie (live)

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The Latest

Well it's been one hell of a 2020 aye? Me and the boys have been super responsible with social distancing since this whole pandemic thing happened and we haven't played a note with each other since March 10th. That upcoming Friday we had our first full band gig booked for Lincoln Winebar in Mount Vernon, Iowa and decided it was the safest bet to cancel with all of the closures and lockdowns that were starting to take place. We of course had no idea this was going to go on, and on, and on... No one did. We cancelled the rest of our gigs for the summer and hunkered down just like the rest of the world. We are all doing fine, everyone is healthy except of course for being mad sick of this damn virus!! I went to visit with Puma one day this summer outside in the yard and he is doing great. As he lives across from Hickory Hill Park and has taken some time off work he's been jogging every day and is the fittest I've ever seen him! I can't wait to see how his new found endurance relates to his drum kit when we can finally start putting ourselves back together. Dennis is also doing great. He is working, taking care of his 2 amazing kids and working on some music with his girlfriend Sharon Jackson who is also a very talented singer/songwriter. Smudge is still kickin' it Smudge style too! I popped in to say hello just recently and he's up to the same ole no-good and I would expect nothing less. I sure miss watching his crazy ass play with his arms and hair going everywhere and that big Smudge smile.  We all miss each other and most definitely miss playing music. 

In the mean time, I have worked on a couple of new solo songs, one called "Long Tall Tale" which is the first song I've ever written about my brother ( you can check it out on the music page) and my newest baby, "This American Dream". This was a particularly emotional, fun and challenging project as all I had was myself, my guitar, a midi controller and a couple of DAW's. I initially recorded the guitar and vocals in Presonus Studio 4 and then dumped those tracks into Logic so I could access all of the cool sounds to write bass, drums, keys and string tracks one by one. Actually it was more like, strings, keys, bass and then drums - I guess you could say I do things a little backwards, but if that's how it works then I guess that's my process LOL.  I put together a music video and I sent out a call to action for people to send me pictures of them wearing their masks to put in the video and a I got a great response! A lot of people I know and a lot of people I don't know responded. It was really wonderful to get them all and I think I ended up with somewhere around 100 photos. I also received some video clips involving the protests for George Floyd and BLM Movement. It's unfathomable just how much has happened this year. We really have been through a lot... we really have... and I'll take a moment of silence with that thought....

And now, we find ourselves with a new President and Vice President Elect - KAMALA!!! WOOOT!!! A vaccine is just around the corner, and that "probably won't see things getting back to normal until next spring/summer" is getting closer. I am beginning to see a light at the end of this dark and treacherous, twisted and sick broken down carnival ride of a tunnel and I hope you are too. We just have to hold out and be strong through the holidays, skip those family gatherings keeping in mind that next year we can celebrate love, life and family 10x bigger and better to make up for it! 

We are really looking forward to putting some dates on the calendar for summer 2021 and beyond and doing some recording and all kinds of great musical stuff to share with you! In the mean time, you can get a little nostalgic and listen to some stuff on the music tab, watch some videos from our live shows and drop us a line if you want! We hope each and every one of you are in good health, mentally and physically and we wish you a warm holiday season. 

Love,

Nikki & The Guys

 

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Old News

Lunden, Mill team up for Feb. 6 Fed Worker Benefit 

by Christine Hawes | Jan 31, 2019 TheRealMainstream.com

Many federal workers and contractors haven’t yet been paid, won’t receive back pay, or had to take on additional costs to get by during the shutdown. They still need help. 

Nikki Lunden, Iowa native, has a history of standing up for people in need, or who are marginalized. 

She became an ally of the transgender community during her six years living in Los Angeles. Back in 2014, she co-wrote a song titled “Savage Line” to honor troops serving in the Middle East that became part of a movie. Before that, she spent some time mentoring young people through United Action for Youth on how to be your authentic LGBTQ self, even if you’re a public figure. 

Now, Lunden is taking on a new cause: supporting federal employees who are still going without wages a week after the government shutdown ended. She and her band Natural Habits, are joining with four other diverse bands for the Fed Workers Relief Fundraiser, a Feb. 6 benefit at The Mill. 

These five bands will perform from 6 to 10 p.m. A donation is requested at the door. 

Becca Sutlive 
Sharon Jackson 
Cedar County Cobras 
Rattlesnake Master 
Nikki Lunden’s Natural Habits 

“I just got tired of crying and watching all these people suffer,” said Lunden, who grew up in Franklin, Iowa. “I decided, ‘We have to do something. I can’t just sit here and watch these stories and not try to do something.’ I don’t know why I didn’t try to do this weeks ago.” 

The Federal Workers Relief Fundraiser will raise money for three secure funds for  federal employees who are still waiting for back pay, won’t receive any back pay, or are struggling with the additional costs they incurred while going without pay.

The Midwestern roots rock of Lunden’s Natural Habits will be joined by the Americana music of Becca Sutlive; pop vocalist Sharon Jackson; bluegrass masters Cedar County Cobras; and the grungy folk of Rattlesnake Master. 

“I became really heartbroken when Nikki shared her idea about raising money for all these people,” said Edward Hudgens, aka “Smudge,” one of Lunden’s bandmates. “I’m crying, Nikki’s crying …. Somehow, all this came about, and this is what we want to do to help out.”

Lunden has been part of the music industry for about 20 years. She helped found the band Lunden Reign during her six years in Los Angeles and also lived briefly in Colorado. Lunden returned to Iowa City in August, and her band has performed at Riverside Casino and other Corridor area venues. 

In addition to the Feb. 6 concert, Lunden has started taking online donations. You can click here to donate to Iowa Musicians for Federal Workers.

See the full article complete with videos from some of our performers here!

 

There's no place like home. 

After a 6 year long journey in Los Angeles, CA acting as front woman and co-writer for Lunden Reign, I've returned home to Iowa City, IA  - and feeling fully revived! I'm very proud of the work I did with my partners out there - the records we made, incredible shows, tour, connections, studios (freakin' Capitol AND Abbey Road!) and so much more. I wouldn't give any of it back for a second. But in the course of living the L.A. life,  I've learned there truly is no place like home and it was time to get back to my roots. I've been doing just that since arriving back home mid-August by way of a beautiful and cathartic 4 day drive across 7 states with my scruffy little mutt, Olive. Currently I am working on getting the new (old) band, Natural Habits, up to speed on 4 hours of material as well as getting my solo show together with my looper and multiple instruments. 

I've recently received my degree in Recording Arts through Los Angeles Film School. I'm well versed in the studio and live setting, both are my favorite! I love the excitement of running sound for live shows, getting to know the eclectic mix of bands that come through and doing everything I can to help them relax and have a great performance. In the studio, grinding on parts until they're perfect (including all our perfect mistakes), setting up mics and getting sounds, twisting knobs, pushing faders... it gives me dirty feelings, HA! The recording process can be meditative for me, I really get into it and it's obvious in both the studio and the club that I'm really in my element. 

My passion is being the musician AND the engineer, but it doesn't have to be at the same time. 

Over the last 20 years I've/we've released a total of 8 records with my Iowa City crew. This includes 2 Trollies, 4 solo, 1 Heinous Canis, and Nikki Lunden Trio live at the Java House. My usual suspects include Natalie Brown - violin, Michael Fett - guitar, Marty Letz - pedal steel, Matt Wright (Euforquestra) - keys, Adam Grosso (Euforqestra) - bass, Dennis Wendt - bass, Seth "Puma" Koenig - drums, and The One and Only Smudge on hand percussion. Of course I add some tasty spices here and there when the song calls for it and we have some really great musicians in the area to call when the opportunity arises. You never know when you need a clarinetist, sax player, hey - even a broom player! Yes, broom. If you listen to "What Am I Doin' Here" (depends on the weather), you will hear Turk McAllister sweepin' away. HA! 

We've got some shows already on the calendar, be sure to check out the shows page for that and be sure to listen and share some of the nostalgic tracks I've put up to tide you over until we get some new stuff recorded and mixed!  Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. Looking forward to meeting you at a show!

Fresh Breaths and Natural Habits 

Natural Habits

The main course here is well... me, haha! I, Nikki Lunden, am a singer songwriter and sassy front woman. I write all of our songs - a mixed bag of love songs, heartbreakers, self reflection in what I call "midwestern roots rock" genre. "What the heck is midwestern roots rock?" I can hear you asking yourself with your head tilted sideways. Well let me tell you. It's my own made up style that I define as "not quite country, not quite pop, not quite rock-n-roll." We have flavors of Folk, Pop, Punk, Rock, Americana, Bluegrass and Country but rarely single one of these genres out at a time. We kinda just take all the genres and blend em up together like mashed potatoes! Hope that makes sense to you. HA!  :)

On drums we have my bestie Seth "Puma" Koenig who has played with me for a million years - well ok, its only been 19 but it feels like a lifetime LOL. Puma has been with me since our first band The Trollies (est. 2000) and several other incarnations of my music. Although we've both come and gone from Iowa City here and there, we're forever bandmates and I'll work with no one else when it comes to the drum kit.

 Then we have our gentle giant Dennis Wendt on bass. Dennis joined Puma and I in the later years of The Trollies. When I decided to come home Dennis was a natural choice for me. I don't think I finished my sentence asking him to join in before he said he'd love to play with us again.

And of course The One and Only Smudge (Ed Hudgens) on hand percussion. Smudge is my business partner, father in-law (ex) and biggest supporter. Without him, we would not have this great new gear and space to make our music! If you haven't seen him play with us from previous years, you can't miss him rockin' out on his gargantuan percussion set up! He brings such life to the show and some super tasty parts that adds another dimension to our sound.

Keep on Rockin' Ya'll! <3 Nikki