“I was raised on country, a steady dose of Haggard and Jones/ Conway and Loretta were always on the radio/ but everything has changed since then, they say it's for the good/ but I think it's a crying shame Nashville's gone Hollywood/ you won't need a steel guitar in your watered down rock 'n roll/ and you might even find yourself on the cover of The Rolling Stone / you'll be looking mighty fine in your designer clothes/ and you won't need the Opry you'll be singing on Jay Leno.” - Nashville's Gone Hollywood - Heather Myles.

When Californian born honky tonk heroine Heather Myles hit the vast stage at historic Springvale Town Hall she landed like a Texas tornado with no casualties.

The last time I saw Heather live was in the Lone Star summer heat at the 2006 Willie Nelson July 3 and 4 picnics in Texas at Carl's Corner and Fort Worth.

But here it was a crisp autumnal evening as Heather fronted her Australian bands Next Generation who opened the show and Tru Country for a mercurial marathon.

This multi-cultural audience - carousing cowboys, cowgirls and Indians - two-stepped, waltzed and sang along to two turbo charged local bands before Myles materialised centre stage.

Heather opened with Ralph Mooney-Chuck Seals penned 1957 Ray Price hit Crazy Arms and Charley Pride's Kiss An Angel Good Morning before her original Broken Heart For Sale from her 1998 album Highways And Honky Tonks.

“It took me 17 hours to get here from California for my first Australian tour but I want to thank y'all for coming out tonight and buying concert tickets,” Myles, now 60, told enthusiastic fans who surged to stage left, right and centre.

It seemed apt she followed with her originals Playing Every Honky Tonk In Town and True Love from the same 1998 album.

“I rode on a Harley Davidson in the video for True Love ,” was how Heather explained her maverick motor bike riding birth in her thirties.

She introduced her tune Nashville's Gone Hollywood from her 2002 album Sweet Talk And Good Lies with her song source.

“I was born in California near the small town of Riverside which is no longer small and have a home in Texas,” Myles revealed.

“But when I went to Nashville I felt like a square peg in a round hole.”

The singer then revealed she wrote her next song Rock At The End Of My Rainbow during her time in California country capital Bakersfield where the late Buck Owens began his music journey and reigned.

Myles exposed the other woman in her cheating song Who Did You Call Darling before reviving the Kris Kristofferson classic Help Me Make It Through The Night.

Next she returned to her original song title track of her 2002 album Sweet Talk And Good Lies and Love Me A Little Longer from Highways And Honky Tonks.

Myles also revived the late great Jerry Lee Lewis's Great Balls Of Fire before her original Sweet Little Dangerous from her Sweet Talk And Good Lies album.

She also praised her Melbourne bands including pedal steel guitarist Dave Moore, bassist Jeff Stokes, drummer Shaun Lynch, lead guitarist Dwayne D`cruz and keyboard player Lachlan Bryan.

“I didn't bring any backing singers or a band to Australia but I've got one right here,” she gushed about her supremo stage sidekicks.

The singer took an extended break to recharge her stage batteries as she signed CD and poster autographs for a large line of faithful fans as raffle tickets were sold for a Takamine guitar that she presented during her second set.

Meanwhile one of the local bands returned with a Merle Haggard trilogy Okie From Muskogee, Tonight The Bottle Me Down and Swinging Doors that Merle recorded with Shotgun Willie Nelson who turns 90 on April 29.


“I don't like to think about tomorrow/ when you're right here beside me today/ we never speak of future plans/ I know you're a rambling man/ but no-one is gonna love you better.” No One Is Gonna Love You Better - Heather Myles.

When Heather swapped her autograph signing hand for her guitars she was again wired and inspired with her high energy band.

Fans of all ages rushed back to stage front including tiny tots in fairy dresses who even sat agape on the stairs at stage right.

Two huge video screens towering above and beside both sides of the stage were a bonus - especially for fans who headed upstairs to the first-floor gallery.

The ten-album legend opened with fellow Californian born Dwight Yoakam's hit Guitars, Cadillacs And Hillbilly Music before another Dwight original Little Chapel that she recorded with Yoakam.

Heather revived her original No One Is Gonna Love You Better she recorded with Merle Haggard and Harlan Howard penned classic Heartaches By The Number that was recorded by artists diverse as Guy Mitchell, Dwight Yoakam and Ray Price.

She finished with Together Again that she recorded with the Cadillac Cowboys and Sweet Dreams About You.

Heather again thanked loyal Melbourne promoters Charles Walker and Clifton Burnett of Country Lovers Radio Australia for bringing her down under after several radio interviews on their popular community station.

Once again their determination, promotion and support proved it was well worth it.

They ensured that aptly named Springvale - a long time country music stronghold since the late sixties - had a major international artist adding to its real country roots tradition.

Review by David Dawson.

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