Monday, November 1, 2010

Lynn Miles -- Fall for Beauty

Fall for Beauty
True North

As I’ve said before, Ottawa’s Lynn Miles has long been one of my favourite confessional singer-songwriters. This past August, Lynn was one of several artists I hosted in a round-robin set at the Ottawa Folk Festival and I got to preview several of the10 new songs she’s recorded on Fall for Beauty, a collection that ranks with her best work.

It’s often been said that the definition of a good country song is “three chords and the truth,” and that’s something that Lynn, as a veteran singer-songwriter knows well. In her country-flavoured song of that name, Lynn lets us know that three chords and the truth is still what she is looking for as an artistic statement and, indeed, these songs hit that mark time and again in various shades and combinations of contemporary folk, country and mature pop music.

The most powerful song in the collection is also – in terms of the production – the quietest. “Love Doesn’t Hurt,” is an astute, analytical piece about domestic or relationship abuse that draws definitive lines in the sand about what needs to be recognized as unacceptable in a relationship. I think Lynn was right to leave this track to just voice and guitar – nothing else was needed.

Also quite powerful is “Little Bird,” a song she sings compassionately and with understanding to someone who seems to battling with personal demons.

Another highlight is “Fearless Heart,” a wish list song set to a bright, up tempo arrangement and hooky melody that sets out a whole bunch simple desires and one big one, a fearless heart. She shows us that fearless heart in the following song, “I Will,” in which she declares her determination not to be laid low by the kind of setbacks that life throws in our path.

The album ends with the optimistic “Time to Let the Sun,” a sweeping, string-laden piece that recalls era when the likes of Yip Harburg, Harold Arlen and George and Ira Gershwin were creating the Great American Songbook.

Lynn launches Fall for Beauty with concerts Saturday, November 6, 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, at the Mayfair Theatre in Ottawa (613-730-3403) and Wednesday, November 10, 8:00 pm at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto (416-205-5555).

--Mike Regenstreif

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