Lynn Miles – We’ll Look For Stars
The atelier of Ottawa passionista Lynn Miles has just unveiled her new ready-to-hear line for 2020. Lifting off from the runway on July 3, We’ll Look For Stars is her 15th release and is already peaking at number one on the Euro-American chart for August (popping Bob Dylan out of first place). It is a summer/fall collection of all-original songs that has arrived wrapped in a crisply designed, astro/nautically-themed navy blue jewel-box. The sharply tailored variety of song styles is threaded together with snugly-fitted precision around Lynn’s guitar and piano patterns, and her dramatically velvety vocals.
The new tunes substantially warm the inner ear, and the lyrics are fastened on with delicate but sturdy velcro hooks that easily unclasp into persistent questions: Whom amongst your friends is really an old soul? Do we drink to forgive or do we drink to regret? Where were you the day Merle Haggard died? Closure is advisedly of the sort that only profound kindness and perseverance can provide.
She is aided again by the stitching and hemming talents of home-towner Dave Draves at Little Bullhorn Studio, where the 2018 album by The LYNNeS was also fashioned. As a production team, Lynn and Dave (“if only the world knew our genius”) seem to have tried to eliminate all superfluous fabric and accoutrements, accessorizing sparsely to maintain focus on the material itself, with some favourite stylistic accents: a touch of Rebecca Campbell’s vocal sparkle and Greg Leisz’s gauzy Weissenborn on “A Heart Can Only Take So Much,” James Stephens’ looming fiddle on the barbed political rocker “Main Street,” and the electric vibrato underpinning that combines with a finely-woven string threnody, imparting a taut yet lush grace to the album closer, “Because We Love.”
Beginning with the title tune, Lynn is rustling her heart up, over an undulating piano, to broker commitments between the pursuit of those inspirations that are “wild and brave and sad and gold” and staying the course of safety – using the far constellations as guidance, in a way that subtly evokes our own current strategies for surmounting virally-transmitted distress. Although it was recorded between December 2019 and May of this year, none of the material was composed from within the pandemic framework, and yet Lynn’s characteristically pragmatic perspectives seem to offer sound load-bearing strategies and sympathies for the class of 2020.
Embroidering ever wider circles of empathy into the straightforward roughness of the divinely human creations that she discovers out in the world, Lynn consistently develops heartbreaking observational motifs that are as poignant and elliptical as the ones that she designs for the characters that she observes within herself.
Survival of the conscience is for her the essential thematic course to be navigated. Disconsolate imaginings of perfection, possibilities, and potentialities serve as useful alignments but ultimately, her bottom line emerges as “sometimes the best thing to do is let go.” Still, in many of the songs, the majestic “Old Soul,” the elegiac “Merle,” and the rejuvenating “In The Wilderness,” Lynn brings forth memories and bold hopes for that buoyant space where “every game was truth or dare (and the) whole wide world hung in the air”.
This album conforms to a broad dress code which, combined with its meticulous artisanship, guarantees durable and extended wear, whether at such social events as are still legal, adorning the international arenas of critical acclaim, or worn as comfortable aural evening apparel, privately or within a shared intimate bubble. It will feature neatly in that section of your musical closet labelled “I-Didn’t-Know-I-Needed-It-Until-I-Heard-It.”