If you know the Turnpike Troubadours, then you know Lorrie. You may have never met her, not be sure if she’s real or just a figment of songwriter and frontman Evan Felker’s imagination. But she looms large in the Turnpike Troubadours universe with numerous songs referring to her by name, and others seeming to allude to her. Some wonder if most all of Felker’s songs tie back to Lorrie in some capacity.
Lorrie was first and most obviously introduced into the world of the Turnpike Troubadours through the song “Good Lord Lorrie” released on the band’s album Goodbye Normal Street in 2012. The song about a relationship gone bad has since become one of Turnpike’s most popular songs. Another reference to Lorrie comes in the song “The Mercury” from the band’s 2015 self-titled album.
Lorrie laughs like she just don’t care
Got a red bandana and raven hair
The other obvious Lorrie reference is in the song “The Housefire” from Turnpike’s 2017 album A Long Way From Your Heart.
Well Lorrie called the volunteers
Siren music to my ears
For the record, Lorrie is not the only recurring character in the Turnpike Troubadours saga. There’s also Jimmy, who appears directly in the songs “The Funeral” and “The Mercury.” There is also a Browning Auto 5 shotgun that appears in both “The Bird Hunters” and “The Housefire.”
This all comes from the mind of Evan Felker who has proven over the years to be one of our generation’s most thoughtful and industrious songwriters, along with in certain seasons of his life, a troubled soul.
Trying to find references to Lorrie in Turnpike Troubadours songs can be a fun enterprise. Figuring out if Lorrie is an actual person or not may have just solved itself. On Sunday, February 4th, a songwriter, graphic and cover art designer, and leatherworker named Ali Harter-Street stepped forward to claim that she is in fact Lorrie.
The fact that Ali Harter is credited for the artwork on Turnpike’s landmark 2010 album Diamonds & Gasoline and has other direct tie-ins to Turnpike seem to infer that she may not be lying.
Her missive from the “Pigsflyshop” Instagram page was not a sweet note about being the muse of Turnpike Troubadours songs. It was a rather scathing rebuke about being singled out and used through Turnpike’s tracks for a protracted and painful period. Her note reads in full:
Being Lorrie is the last thing I ever thought I’d be.
Hearing my life sung through the speakers at Walmart while I’m buying fuckin’ toilet paper is the most demeaning and cruel joke I could have ever imagined I’d have played on me.
All the songs about me are gross, and one sided. They are unfair. I’m glorified, then ripped to shreds. Speculated about, blamed, used when needed. I’m an excuse for addiction, but never have I ever been a step in recovery. Zero amends. It takes two, dude.
My biggest regrets and traumas, OUR personal things… have been put on display and exploited for “art”, and a dime.
You are fuckin’ WELCOME for your hits. And the free artwork for Diamonds & Gasoline.
I tried to kill you and the space you took up in my life with this song I wrote… I know you’ve heard it. And you still won’t shut the fuck up. Just… Shut. Up.”
Also. The, “Cat In The Rain”, artwork is a direct fuckin’ rip off of the graphic design that I did for Jake Flint in 2020. Patches designed and photoshopped on fabric? Come the f*ck on. Jake did it first.
Do not even get me started on what you have knowingly “borrowed” from our music community with zero credit.
As part of the Instagram post, Ali Harter linked to her song “Griever Creek” released on her 2020 album Near The Knuckle.
If Ali Harter never got paid for the Diamonds & Gasoline cover, that seems like something that could and should be resolved. The Turnpike Troubadours could throw her some bones, and solve that particular issue rather easily. For those that don’t know, Jake Flint was an Oklahoma songwriter who passed away on his wedding day. Is the patch-like artwork that has complimented the release of A Cat in the Rain a direct ripoff of Mr. Flint? That’s hard to determine, but the audience can decide for themselves.
The bigger issue that Ali Harter brings up is one about art and muse that has been around since the beginning of time. Songwriters are generally given the latitude as creators to pull inspiration from wherever they find it, and utilize it to their advantage. How many aggrieved boyfriends of Taylor Swift have been the foil or outright villain of Taylor Swift songs? Of course, if you’re Harry Styles or John Mayer, maybe you’re better situated to take the heat.
In previous eras, muses for songs or other art might be paid for their services to the artist. This is a bit of an arcane practice, and this situation is less about Evan Felker’s gaze as it is about his personal experiences with Ali Harter. Some women might be flattered or honored to be the subject of a song, or referenced in one, or the inspiration behind it. At the same time, it’s difficult to impossible for any of us to put ourselves in Ali Harter’s shoes and understand the range of emotions she’s had to experience as people belt out “Good Lord Lorrie” at arena shows.
But perhaps the ultimate question here is how Lorrie is perceived within the Turnpike Troubadours universe. Is she a villain? Does she feel “used” in some sort of demeaning capacity? Is her morals or character called into question? It’s hard to come to those conclusions in any sort of hard manner listening through the songs. Instead, it feels like Lorrie is more like a fulcrum for the stories to revolve around as opposed to a foil or a villain.
On the Turnpike Troubadours’ most recent album A Cat in the Rain from 2023, there were no references to Lorrie, and Evan Felker seemed to confirm this in interviews. There might be a reference to another singer in the title track, though strangely, nobody seems to want to talk about that.
For the record, Saving Country Music reached out to Ali Harter to see if she wanted to speak more in-depth about her experiences, or clarify her statements as opposed to just taking some posts on social media and publishing them verbatim. She declined, but did request our correspondence be screenshot and included in any article, so that will be done below. Ali also published a followup to her original post, which also can be read below.
It appears that much of the mystery and questions surrounding Turnpike’s Lorrie have been solved, even if the bitterness Ali Harter feels over the situation remains. The best music reflects life in all of its messiness. Ali Harter may not find any solace in that, but many have found solace and joy in the music of the Turnpike Troubadours, and specifically in the songs where Lorrie makes an appearance. And it feels like it would be a shame if she never appeared.
Saving Country Music’s correspondence with Ali Harter, posted upon her request:
Followup Note from Ali Harter:
Family and close mutual friends have given me some advice throughout the day. Everything from, “take it down,” to “you should clarify,” to “respond to comments and defend yourself.” I love and respect every single one of you. And I love that I know y’all are coming from a place of knowing and protection. I also love and respect that when I explained my intentions and we recapped the last 15ish years, the conversations shifted to complete support and, “I was actually what took you so damn long.”
Am I grieving multiple family members deaths right now? Yes. Am I under a massive amount of stress that has nothing to do with fucking comical situation? Yes. Did I snap when I heard a familiar song in the Walmart toilet paper isle and chose to break my sobriety and shoot my mouth off on the internet. You betcha.’ But here’s the deal … This was a long time coming. Never have I EVER, shied away from my fucked up choices. And I have never backed down from something that I know isn’t right. Or fair. And I am not about to start today.
I have had over 15 years to doxx this entire fucking situation and benefit from it, and that’s not what I have ever wanted. Believe me, I waited for it to go away. But it didn’t.
I played my music and I traveled and I loved every second of it. I left the party early when my childeren became my priority. I have ZERO regrets about that. It’s their time. I am not promoting anything, I do not want anything. I just wanted to make my intentions crystal fucking clear. And I did that. Additionally, I guaran-fucking-tee you that I am not the only woman out there that wants peace, and wishes this story line ended a long goddamed time ago. I am wholeheartedly sorry for my part in all of this.
Fame is a construct. I am not impressed by it, I am not afraid of it. There is no honor in gaining fame at literally everyone around you’s expense. I don’t care what people say about me or think they know. Let ’em drag me. I’m used to it. There isn’t anything anyone could say that would make me regret the weight I decided to take off my own shoulders today.
I don’t want to hurt anyone. But I also don’t deserve to be hurt anymore either. Maybe it wasn’t intentional … Writers gonna write. You do you. You were there and you are entitled to your emotions. But what you DON’T get to do is go through what we went through, sit and listen to me apologize and make amends, say it’s ok, and then decide to treat me like shit, say I never want to see or hear from you again … and then drag my trauma across the fucking radio. Album … after fucking album. You can’t have it both ways. There is no honor in that.
People keep saying, “No one would have known if you didn’t say anything.” Motherfucker. I know. And that’s enough.
There will be no receipts. There will be no more convos about this from me. This isn’t a war. I don’t need or want anything. If I am going to ask someone to shut the fuck up, I plan on doing the same.
Only things I regret are my typos and the use of hashtags. Cringe. Don’t drink and internet, kids. I said what I said, and that’s all I have to say. Oh, except … Of course it’s the FFA logo, that was the fucking point. And it’s badass. Thanks.