Monday, July 18, 2016


Hey Bob, what gives?  You're talking about a three-year old record here.  Yes, but it's because one of my faves Canadian writers all-time, Ottawa's Lynn Miles, is landing in my hometown Wednesday for a show, part of a brief East Coast jaunt.  And her last album, which came out in December, was called Winter, and featured songs about that season and Christmas, which just feels completely out of place here in the height of summer.  I can't write about Winter when I'm sitting in front of a fan, sweatin' to the oldies.

In fact, I can't hear over the fan properly, so instead I'm going to re-run my review of Downpour, and tell you to get yourself to a nice, air-conditioned bar this week to see Lynn Miles, always a breath of fresh air and song.  She's playing:

  • Corked Wine Bar - Fredericton, Wednesday July 20
  • ROCA House - Dartmouth, N.S., Friday July 22
  • The Carleton - Halifax, Sunday, July 24

The string of excellent Lynn Miles albums continues, like a pitcher who never loses a game.  A classic, grade-A songwriter, there's an emotional punch in every song, at least one line to send you spinning.  Lead track More is loaded with killer couplets:  "I want the whole bottle/not just a shot/don't want a little/want a lot".  You just wait for the next line that floors you, and she never fails to come up with one.

Sliding between folk, country, bluegrass and a little bit of electric, the delicate backing is perfect to point your attention to her voice and lyrics.  I'll take that combo of mandolin, twangy guitar, aching vocals and lots of harmony any time.  Moving easily from style to style keeps our interest from flagging, and again, lets the stories and lyrics shine.  How To Be Alone is classic country, with verses that would do Haggard or Jones proud:  "Nobody ever calls, nobody's dropping by/they were all your friends, so they don't even try."  My Road is one of the best descriptions of the touring musician's life you'll find:  "Wallflowers and pool halls, hard truths and drunken phone calls, old regrets and platitudes, gravel driveways and hometown news."

I find Miles helps us see the balance in life, that the moments to treasure can make up for the lows and sorrows.  As she sings in Million Brilliant, "It's alright we're in it for the long haul/It's alright we can see the beautiful sadness of it all."

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