Lynn Miles “Tumbleweedy World”

True North Records, 2023

Artwork For Lynn Miles album "Tumbleweedy World"

Finely crafted songs with classic acoustic stylings find Canadian singer-songwriter Lynn Miles and her band on top form

Artwork For Lynn Miles album "Tumbleweedy World"Canadian singer-songwriter Lynn Miles carries a formidable reputation before her–with 15 albums and some 900 songs under her belt, she is well known as a touring musician and supporter of many causes including mental health for musicians. ‘Tumbleweedy World’ is a very fine addition to her catalogue, and follows her 2020 release ‘We’ll Look For Stars’ which received an 8/10 review on Americana UK.

From the opening of the first track ‘Night Owl‘, with atmospheric dobro and mandolin, the tone of the album is set–Miles’ characteristic finely crafted lyrics, with traditional instrumentation paying homage to the long musical heritage of Americana/Canadiana from the early 20th century onwards. And front of stage throughout are her effortlessly soaring and sweet vocals, never more so than on stand out track ‘Cold Cold Moon’, featuring a beautifully balanced acoustic arrangement with mandolin and fiddle in subtle interplay, and the delightful chorus refrain “I’m the cold, cold, moon/the cold, cold, moon/and these days I show up/way too soon/I’m the cold, cold, moon”.

 Love and loss are recurring lyrical themes, and in ‘Johnny without June’ Miles takes the great love match of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash as her inspiration for a song to a departed lover, telling him “I’m the earth without the sun/a bullet with no gun/I’m a flower with no bloom/a lone wolf howling at the moon/I’m a sailor lost at sea/learning how deep blue can be/I’m a song without a tune/I’m Johnny without June”, and weaving artist appropriate musical references into the lyrics too–“I’d give anything to turn back time/I’d give anything to walk the line/to join you on that funeral pyre/to go down on that ring of fire”. 

Miles’ band for the recordings comprises Michael Ball on stand-up bass, Joey Wright on mandolin and acoustic guitar, Stuart Rutherford on dobro, Rob McLaren on banjo, and James Stephens on violin, and they shine throughout the ten all original songs, credited to Miles with co-writer credits to Susan Crowe for ‘Cold Cold Moon’ and Maxine Wallace on ‘Johnny Without June’.

‘Hide Your Heart’ in waltz time has a delightful old-time feel, with harmony vocals and prominent fiddle, and banjo and mandolin trading licks, while ‘Palomino’ is an ode to a faithful steed, more faithful than the departed lover, Miles singing “I’m a lonesome drifting girl/in my tumbleweedy world/you’re a quiet steady soul/painted coat and eyes like coal/Palomino pal of mine/you’ve been with me rain or shine/through the pinion and the pine/every trail and borderline/Palomino pal of mine”  over a classic two-step beat.

An exceptional collection of finely crafted songs with classic Americana/Canadiana stylings, destined to be a long-term favourite listen.

9/10
9/10

About David Jarman 115 Articles
Long time fan of Americana genre, from early days of Ry Cooder, through to today's thriving scene. Regular visitor to USA ( Nashville/Austin/Memphis/LA ) live music junkie, I play guitar, mandolin, harmonica, plus vocals, run monthly jam session in Broadstairs
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