Western Canada native k.d. lang launched her career with a blend of country-rock stylings and playfully punk-like attitude, by turns whimsical and subversive. Back then, she practically put the alternative in alt-country. But from the very beginning, her bravura singing belied her kitschy cowgirl outfits and spiky hair,
After independently releasing A Truly Western Experience, on a Canadian label in 1984, which generated serious major-label interest in the States, lang joined Sire/Warner Bros. at the behest of Seymour Stein for her 1987 U.S. debut, Angel With A Lariat, produced by one-time Rockpile guitarist Dave Edmunds and cut with her then-band the Reclines.
1988 follow-up Shadowland brought lang – rather daringly – right to the heart of Nashville for a countrypolitan-themed collaboration helmed by legendary producer Owen Bradley, mentor to lang's idol, Patsy Cline, as well as to Brenda Lee. In fact, Lee, Loretta Lynn, and Kitty Wells make a guest vocal appearance on the album's "Honky Tonk Angels' Medley." Though the Nashville establishment may have remained skeptical about lang, Shadowland reached No. 8 on the Billboard Country album chart.