Lynn Miles - Fall For Beauty
2011, True North Records
Lynn Miles is one of the most accomplished Americana (or Canadiana, if you will) singer/songwriters in Canada. Taking the time to build herself as an artist, Miles spent time in Los Angeles and Nashville before returning home to Ottawa, but in the process picked up several Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Juno Award. Miles’ latest album, Fall For Beauty, appears on track to be her most commercially successful to date.
Fall For Beauty opens with "Something Beautiful", a song that explores humanity's yen for seeking the beautiful and sublime amongst the everyday struggles of life. The song offers a poignant, mature perspective in a sharp folk/rock arrangement with more than a little pop sensibility. Miles has a wonderfully mature voice that's part Sheryl Crow, part Bonnie Raitt and part Lynn Anderson. "Fearless Heart" features a melody that climbs inside of your head and refuses to leave, amidst a dynamic country/rock arrangement that's the perfect complement. It's the story of someone who wishes she could grab hold of life and ride free but is caught up in her own fears. It's a brilliant aural portrait of someone caught in-between, and the vocal harmonies are angelic.
"I Will" is a musical monologue from someone who has lost faith in herself, life and humanity, but sees the need to get back to where she's been. It's a song of determination and hope that carries the seeds of recovery from heartbreak and disillusion. The gentle urgency here is compelling. "Three Chords And The Truth" is a portrait of the artist as a young girl; an ode to taking on the world the only way she knows how: growing up and finding herself through writing and performing songs. "Cracked And Broken" is a mournful tune detailing her broken heart at the hands of someone she loved deeply. It's essentially an acknowledgement that she fell in love with the wrong person. There's a tragic beauty to this tune, but something seems to be missing at the same time.
"Little Bird" is a song of encouragement for someone who perhaps grew up with little. It's a sweet number that may touch some chords out there. "Love Doesn't Hurt" strays into the world of domestic violence, and may be the natural progression from "Little Bird". The tale told here is simple and straight forward, all the more compelling for the lack of varnish or commentary. "Save Me" is a mildly catchy number with an Orbison-esque guitar style. It's an acknowledgment of wanting someone who is bad for and of being her own worst enemy. Jim Bryson (Punchbuggy, Kathleen Edwards, Sarah Harmer, The Weakerthans) joins Miles for "Goodbye", a song of parting about the mutual realization that things aren't working out. Miles and Bryson's voices are a unique blend that works very well. Fall For Beauty closes with "Time To Let The Sun", a sweet and positive lullaby done in a classic MGM movie musical style. This one obviously stands out stylistically, but is surprisingly good even for being a musical anomaly.
Lynn Miles writes with depth and insight, singing from the veldt that lays somewhere between heart and soul, but is of both and neither all at once. Fall For Beauty is a mature and intellectually resounding work, more of a song cycle about the human condition than simply a collection of songs. Miles also has a talent for crafting arrangements for her material that work perfectly hand in hand with the depth of her lyrics. This is not an album you put down easily, even if gets a bit uneven at times in the middle.
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)