"You won't see no bright lights/ but there's a neon sign/ a juke box in the corner/ and I'm there until closing time/ now I got to bed each morning/ wake when the sun goes down/ because I'm playing every honky tonk in town." - Heather Myles.

When Dolly Parton celebrated her 52nd birthday by singing about the dearth of women singing honky tonk songs it revealed how far she had drifted from her Tennessee mountain roots.

There's been an avid army of female honky tonkers fanning the flames since Dolly succumbed to the glitz of Hollyweird.

Becky Hobbs, Sara Evans, Ronna Reeves, Rhonda Vincent, Ruby Lovett, Lee Ann Womack, Jann Browne and Danni Leigh brandished the tear jerking torch while disco Dolly danced to a different drum.

Heather Myles

But Californian chanteuse Heather Myles - arguably the most authentic of all the beer and wine mine minstrels - spread the gospel to her adoptive London home in the lean years.
She recorded her third album, Sweet Little Dangerous, live at the Bottom Line in Shepherd's Bush in 1996 because of radio rejection in her homeland.

Now, with the release of her fourth disc Highways & Honky Tonks, the dynamic diva had chiselled her return in stone country.

And she has again been embraced by critics and more perceptive radio stations not afraid to program real country in a swirling sea of schmaltz and anal angst masquerading as the real thing.

There's no syrupy strings or grunge guitars on a disc produced by Michael Dumas - Heather's desk jockey for her original demos which landed her the deal for Just Like Old Times in 1992.

Dumas recruited Dwight Yoakam's A team, headed by Pete Anderson, and her own Cadillac Cowboys for a chunky gem embellished by Ray Kennedy of the Twang Trust on bass.

Bakersfield bar-room Romeo Merle Haggard makes a rare guest duet vocal on No One Is Gonna Love You Better, recorded in the famed Bradley Barn in Nashville.

But it's another haunting hook heavy, heat seeker True Love that impacted with hefty support from CMT video exposure.

When you listen to Heather's heartache hinged throaty vocals you are hearing the inspired interpreter of a soulful slab of solace scraped from the jagged edges of a thousand ruptured romances.

Ms Myles wrote 10 of the 12 songs - she revamped Ben Peters tune Kiss An Angel Good Morning, a hit for Charley Pride, and the Ray Price classic I'll Be There If You Want Me.

Song titles are a salient signpost to the chagrin charred content - Broken Heart For Sale, Love Me A Little Bit Longer and Mr Lonesome.

And, of course, cheating - Who Did You Call Darling is a direct descendant of the Jim Glaser penned Doug Sahm classic, Who Were You Thinking Of When We Were Making Love Last Night?

But there's also optimism from the intro track You're Gonna Love Me Some Day, You've Taken Me Places I Wish I've Never Been and Rock At The End Of My Rainbow.

Ms Myles doesn't just sing about her lost highway of faded love. She has also driven a Morris Minor more than 10,000 miles up and down it to kick in doors of radio stations which once ignored her music - an oasis in the mainstream.

Those endless miles should soon bring belated success and smiles to Heather Myles.

Myles' first break was appearing on a Hightone Records compilation, Points West: New Horizons in Country Music in 1990 with Rum and Rodeo and Lovin' the Bottle and other artists appearing like Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Buddy Miller.

That eventually led to her debut, Just Like Old Times in 1992 and a follow-up, Untamed in 1995.

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