DIARY - 5 FEBRUARY 2004 - HEATHER MYLES REVIEW 1998
MINES MYLES OF HONKY TONKS
"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.
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.
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
Those endless miles should soon bring belated success and smiles to Heather
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.
/ back to diary