Former Alanis Morrisette “Voice Coach” Lynn Miles will accompany international renowned country/folk performer Lynne Hanson at an upcoming concert on May 12th in the “Damer Court Hotel” Roscrea. For ticket information please contact the hotel on (0505)23300.
Born outside Montreal in Sweetsburg, Quebec, Lynn Miles grew up in a musical home. Her father played the harmonica and listened to his jazz collection while her mother was a lover of both opera and country music. Miles’ mother recalled once that she knew when Lynn had finally fallen asleep in her crib: Lynn stopped singing. During her elementary school years, Miles learned guitar, violin, flute and piano. She began performing in public at around the age of sixteen and when she was in her early twenties she studied with an opera singer to strengthen her voice and enrolled for a time at Carleton University in Ottawa where she studied classical music history and theory. Years later, Miles put this training to good use while serving as a voice teacher at the Ottawa Folklore Center. While at the center, she taught voice to many students including a then fourteen-year-old Alanis Morrisette. The lessons came just prior to the making of Morrisette’s first album.
Though Miles had been writing her own songs since the age of 10, she didn’t end up recording any of her own material until 1987 when she cut 9 original compositions for a demo at Happyrock Studio in Ottawa. An avid reader and music-lover, those early recordings were inspired by the books she loved to read, and the music she listened to on the radio. Miles continues to draw inspiration from music and literature to this day. On her latest album (Love Sweet Love) for example, the opening track, “Flames of Love,” was inspired by a long period of reading Sufi poetry. I’m fascinated by the way the Sufis write about love, Miles says. Their love is spiritual, and I reinterpreted it and wrote ‘Flames of Love,’ about jumping in the fire, Lynn Miles letting go and not being afraid and letting it get hot and not caring about what other people think. Just really going for it. The idea – and the song itself – is exhilarating and exciting, yet full of hidden corners and alleyways from where the joy can be blindsided without notice. But as Miles notes, You don't learn from happiness.
If that's true, one gets the sense that Miles has learned a lot. In a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Nashville to Los Angeles and back to Ottawa, and release albums as varied as the slick Night in a Strange Town (co-produced by Larry Klein, of Shawn Colvin and Joni Mitchell fame, and featuring renowned west-coast studio musicians David Piltch, Dean Parks, John Cody and Tal Bergman) and the stark Unravel, Miles has consistently been unflinching in putting it all out there: the unbridled ecstasy of new-found love, the fragile process of sweeping up the pieces when it breaks.
The accolades, meanwhile, continue to pour in. Her 1996 album, Slightly Haunted, was a Billboard Top 10 Pick of the Year. Unravel (released 2001) was praised by critics – All Music Guide describing it as sounding as if it's been produced by Daniel Lanois in an Appalichian town and a diamond in the rough. Canadian folk-music icon Valdy once said, I'm sorry for all the heartache she has to go through in order to get those juices going, but, yeah, she's marvelous. The New York Times may have said it best: Lynn Miles makes being forlorn sound like a state of grace.
Her latest album, Love Sweet Love (Red House Records – February 7, 2006), is a road album. Songs like “Night Drive”, “Sweet and Tender Heart”, “8 Hour Drive” and “Never Coming Back” trace the metaphorical journey of the human heart, sketching a roadmap of modern relationships and heartache. Miles recorded Love Sweet Love with a first-rate collection of Canadian musicians: Unravel producer, guitarist, longtime-friend and collaborator Ian LeFeuvre and drummer Peter Von Althen (both of the Canadian band Starling); Chelsea Bridge double-bassist John Geggiem; Prairie Oyster guitarist Keith Glass and violinist James Stephens all lend their talents to Love Sweet Love. The result of this collaboration is a warm, hopeful sound in perfect harmony with Miles’ smart, heartbreaking lyrics.
Porch music with a little Texas Red Dirt
2009 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee New/Emerging Artist
2009 Southwest Regional Folk Alliance Official showcase artist
2009 Kerrville New Folk Finalist
2009 Rose Garden Coffeehouse Finalist
2008 Mountain Stage New Song Regional Finalist
2008 FAR West Official showcase artist
2006 OCFF Blues Award Songs from the Heart contest
Some call it country, some call it roots-and-blues, others call it rougharound- the-edges folk. Lynne Hanson calls her musical style by her own name: porch music with a little Texas red dirt.
It’s a sound that’s been receiving rabid applause from enamoured critics and devoted fans in Canada, the US Southwest, Europe and Australia. Accompanied by fine instrumentation (acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, dobro, pedal steel, harmonica) and blessed with a soulful voice that’s been compared to Gillian Welch, LucindaWilliams and Mary Chapin Carpenter, Hanson is one of the most captivating female singer-songwriters on the Americana scene today.
“Canadian country music at its best.” – Maverick Magazine
Don’t go labelling her a country crooner. But Hanson sure knows how to share her troubles in a song. Her second CD, Eleven Months, tells many tales of heartbreak: a soft and tender ballad about the death of a lifelong true love in Dance of the Evermore; a heartbreaking tale of two lonely lovers who get together for all the wrong reasons in Seeking Juliet. With an open heart and not a hint of sentimentality, Hanson sings simply and honestly about loss and the search for redemption.
That redemption comes at her live shows. No one leaves a Lynne Hanson concert feeling heavy-hearted. Onstage Hanson is a happy-go-lucky storyteller with a gift for the gab and a wink in her eye, engaging her audience just as much with her stories and one-liners as she can with her music. She’s intimate with her audience, as if she wereshooting the breeze with old friends at her kitchen table. Or her front porch.
Which brings us back to that Texas red dirt…
“Any listener thinking Hanson couldn't have been born north of the Mason-Dixon Line is forgiven.” – Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
Hanson grew up seeing more white Canadian snow than Texas red dirt. She grew up in Ottawa, a quiet, conservative government town with bone-chillingly cold winters. Unlikely breeding ground for a southern-style roots musician? Perhaps. But anyone who can live through a lonely Ottawa winter just might emerge in springtime singing the blues. And that’s exactly what Hanson did. For years, Hanson was a self-described “closet kitchenmusician” until 2006 when everything she’d kept inside spilled out onto her acclaimed first CD, Things I Miss.
Things took off pretty quickly with the release of her second CD, Eleven Months. Word got out about an earthy singer-songwriter from Canada and Hanson was invited to showcase stages from Austin, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee, a European tour, a few more stops in Texas and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination.
It’s been a busy few years for Lynne Hanson. And with a nonstop touring schedule she’s not taking any breaks just yet. Well, maybe just a few. On her front porch. To kick off her cowboy boots, grab her guitar and write some more unforgettable songs for her third CD.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas. With a little Texas red dirt under her heels, Hanson might have to consider building a bigger front porch to fit in more fans.
Eleven Months is worth every minute it took to spill out all those guts onto Hanson's kitchen table. - Alan Neal, CBC Radio One