Lynn Miles is an exceptional talent—one of the very best performing singer/songwriters on the contemporary stage. It is not only the simple beauty of her voice that sets her apart. It is the combination of the literary and poetic quality of her lyrics with her unswerving honesty in describing heartbreak, loneliness and loss. She draws us in because she tells the truth about the pain of love lost. When we do not have the words to describe the dark times, Miles paints the picture in stunning strokes of darkness and light.
We look to the next project of a singer as brilliant as Miles with great anticipation. Her new CD, Downpour, does not disappoint. Although the subject matter delves into the aftermath of a failed relationship, there is always the glimmer of light and hope that something better lies ahead.
From the opening guitar chords of the first cut, we are hooked. The title of the song is More, but what the singer gets is less and less—the loss of love is deep and cutting. The listener can crawl right inside the plaintive sound of Miles's voice and experience the depth of the pain with her:
I don't cry I weep
The central image of Moth is not the proverbial moth drawn to the flame, but the flame that attracts it in the first place. The singer's world may be blown apart, but the light is still aflame, allowing her the chance to love again.
Like many of the songs on the CD, How to be Alone, has a country sound and feel, with its excellent pedal steel guitar care of Ian Lefeuvre, who doubles as both producer and multi-instrumentalist throughout the recording. The idea of a school for love, or love lost, and a class on how to be alone demonstrates the singer's level of despair. But there is the hope that one can learn and find love once again.
Many songs have been written about the loneliness of the traveling musician on the road, but none reads like a short story, summing up both the landscape and the feelings within like My Road. Try on lines like these and you might want to join Miles down that lonely road:
Borderlines and satellites
A beautiful, melody and words describing the despair of having loved so hard, and then finding oneself left with a broken heart and a suitcase full of regrets characterizes the brilliant Love is Red. It all comes together here: the sweet, crystal clear plaintiveness of Miles's voice, the superb arrangement of acoustic guitar picking, banjo and percussion. I think my heart is breaking, too.
The recording closes with the near perfect song, Broken Hearted. Okay—it is perfect. This one could go on country radio today and sell a million downloads. It takes an artist of the caliber of Lynn Miles to make perfect the small, infinite details of what the heart feels when it is broken into so many pieces. The sound of her despair, and yet, the hope to love once more is perfectly exquisite.
Lynn Miles has delivered a thing of great beauty, offering a flame that continues to burn despite the darkness. Downpour may have come out of the depths of despair, but it is a work of art made brilliant through the artistry of Miles's vocals and lyrics. Ian Lefevuvre's production is spot on. It is the best collection of songs to come out on an independent label all year.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society and Roberta B. Schwartz.
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