Lynn Miles lets the sun shine through
“Put your joy on display”, Lynn Miles sings on her new CD, Fall For Beauty, in a line from the track Time To Let The Sun. The whole record is literally scattered with flashes of sunshine that poke through familiar themes of heartache and struggle.
Hope perseveres, even when the subject matter is rough, such as in Love Doesn’t Hurt, about domestic abuse, or Little Bird, which Lynn has dedicated to Gabor Mate, after reading In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, which Lynn declares is the most compassionate book about addiction she has ever read. “We live in a pretty dark time in human history. I wanted to put something beautiful out there”.
Lynn reveals subtle, unassuming moments of light in everyday life – the gasoline rainbows in the opening track, Something Beautiful, or the blue in someone’s eyes in Cracked and Broken. “Sometimes when I sit on a plane and everybody’s miserable, I’ll see a businessman walk on and look at a baby and smile, and I get a glimpse of who he really is”. The whole record has a lovely arc that begins with an optimistic appeal and ends with a sweet, reassuring send-off. “I like to go down a windy road and have a song at the end that’s melancholic and hopeful that will lead into the next record”.
This is Lynn’s eighth studio recording and she has enlisted the help of longtime collaborator Ian Lefeuvre of The Hundreds and Thousands as producer. “I feel instantly in tune with him, he pushes me and he has a great musical sense”. Ian also plays on the record, along with familiar band mates Peter von Althen and Maury LaFoy, also of The Hundreds and Thousands. Ottawa singer-songwriter Jim Bryson lends his vocals on Goodbye in a wistful duet.
Lynn has spent most of her career in Ottawa, where she makes her home. “Ottawa’s where I’m really comfortable. I do so much travelling. I wanted home to really be home. I can do what I do anywhere – I just need a room, some books, and some quiet”.
Lynn will have her studio musicians on stage with her at the upcoming CD release concerts. When seeking out a venue for the Ottawa show, Lynn chose The Mayfair, a local movie theatre. It’s an unconventional concert space, but one that fits the warm, comforting feel of her record. “Rather than a sterile, modern place, I wanted to do it somewhere where you really would see an old movie. It’s beautiful inside. Musicians have started playing there and I wanted to support the venue”.
Fall For Beauty pays tribute to the songs of the black-and-white film era – the simplicity of statement, the string swell that tells you things are bound to work out if you just believe. “I’m pretty confessional. I admit when I screw up. It would be good if we could all just relax a bit more when we make mistakes and put our egos aside.” The closing
track features Lynn’s signature nod to The Wizard of Oz, and even in conversation, her mention of winding roads and finding home conjures up images of the classic film.
The album is a simultaneous display of vulnerability and tenacity, a gem sparkling on the path on the quest for beauty.