From north of the border, two award-winning Canadian singer/songwriters will bring us an amazing evening of songs and stories. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear a two of Canada’s top performers.
As the youngest in a musical family of eight children, Lynne was exposed to a diverse array of musical eras and styles as she grew up. Older siblings were quick to pawn off their babysitting duties to stacks of records and tapes, Lynne being only too happy to sit and sing along for hours with the likes of Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen. The result is a hybrid brand of eclectic roots music that Lynne can truly call her own merging her thought-provoking lyrics with heart-felt soul-country.
Hanson’s early love of jazz was later replaced by bluegrass and traditional country , while teenage years included singing and playing Neil Young songs at home. If pressed, Lynne will describe her sound as “porch music with a little Texas red dirt. I write these songs on acoustic guitar in my kitchen. I want them to sound like the original concept, except with a band. I call it porch music, as it’s like everyone in the neighbourhood comes over and brings their instruments.”
With an open heart and not a hint of sentimentality, Hanson sings simply and honestly about loss and the search for redemption. That redemption comes at her live shows. No one leaves a Lynne Hanson concert feeling heavy-hearted. Onstage Hanson is a happy-go-lucky storyteller with a gift for the gab and a wink in her eye, engaging her audience just as much with her stories and one-liners as she can with her music. She’s intimate with her audience, as if she were shooting the breeze with old friends at her kitchen table. Or her front porch.
Which brings us back to that Texas red dirt…
“Any listener thinking Hanson couldn’t have been born north of the Mason-Dixon Line is forgiven.” – Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
Hanson grew up seeing more white Canadian snow than Texas red dirt. She grew up in Ottawa, a quiet, conservative government town with bone-chillingly cold winters. Unlikely breeding ground for a southern-style roots musician? Perhaps. But anyone who can live through a lonely Ottawa winter just might emerge in springtime singing the blues. And that’s exactly what Hanson did.
For years, Hanson was a self-described “closet kitchen musician” until 2006 when everything she’d kept inside spilled out onto her acclaimed first CD, Things I Miss.
Things took off pretty quickly with the release of her second CD, Eleven Months. Word got out about an earthy singer-songwriter from Canada and Hanson was invited to showcase stages from Austin, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee, a European tour, a few more stops in Texas and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination.
It’s been a busy few years for Lynne Hanson. And with a nonstop touring schedule she’s not taking any breaks just yet. Well, maybe just a few. On her front porch. To kick off her cowboy boots, grab her guitar and write some more unforgettable songs for her third CD.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas. With a little Texas red dirt under her heels, Hanson might have to consider building a bigger front porch to fit in more fans.
Since I first got to see Lynne at Folk Alliance, I’ve been one of those fans. We agreed she should do a show at Las Alturas House Concerts a while ago but Ottowa, Canada isn’t right around the corner from Las Cruces, so it has taken us a while to get her here. I assure you she was worth the wait.
2009 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee – New/Emerging Artist of the Year
2009 Southwest Regional Folk Alliance Official Showcase Artist
2009 Kerrville New Folk Finalist
2009 Rose Garden Coffeehouse Performing Songwriter Finalist
2008 FAR West Official Showcase Artist
2008 Mountain Stage New Song Canadian Finalist
Born outside Montreal in Sweetsburg, Quebec, Lynn Miles grew up in a musical home. Her father played the harmonica and listened to his jazz collection while her mother was a lover of both opera and country music. Miles’ mother recalled once that she knew when Lynn had finally fallen asleep in her crib: Lynn stopped singing. During her elementary school years, Miles learned guitar, violin, flute and piano. She began performing in public at around the age of sixteen and when she was in her early twenties she studied with an opera singer to strengthen her voice and enrolled for a time at Carleton University in Ottawa where she studied classical music history and theory. Years later, Miles put this training to good use while serving as a voice teacher at the Ottawa Folklore Center. While at the center, she taught voice to many students including a then fourteen-year-old Alanis Morrisette. The lessons came just prior to the making of Morrisette’s first album.
Though Miles had been writing her own songs since the age of 10, she didn’t end up recording any of her own material until 1987 when she cut 9 original compositions for a demo at Happyrock Studio in Ottawa. An avid reader and music-lover, those early recordings were inspired by the books she loved to read, and the music she listened to on the radio.
Miles continues to draw inspiration from music and literature to this day. On her latest album (Love Sweet Love) for example, the opening track, “Flames of Love,” was inspired by a long period of reading Sufi poetry. “I’m fascinated by the way the Sufis write about love,” Miles says. “Their love is spiritual, and I reinterpreted it and wrote ‘Flames of Love,’ about jumping in the fire, Lynn Miles letting go and not being afraid and letting it get hot and not caring about what other people think. Just really going for it.” The idea – and the song itself – is exhilarating and exciting, yet full of hidden corners and alleyways from where the joy can be blindsided without notice. But as Miles notes, “You don’t learn from happiness.”
If that’s true, one gets the sense that Miles has learned a lot. In a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Los Angeles and back to Ottawa, and release albums as varied as the slick Night in a Strange Town (co-produced by Larry Klein, of Shawn Colvin and Joni Mitchell fame, and featuring renowned west-coast studio musicians David Piltch, Dean Parks, John Cody and Tal Bergman) and the stark Unravel, Miles has consistently been unflinching in putting it all out there: the unbridled ecstasy of new-found love, the fragile process of sweeping up the pieces when it breaks.
The accolades, meanwhile, continue to pour in. Her 1996 album, Slightly Haunted, was a Billboard Top 10 Pick of the Year. Unravel (released 2001) was praised by critics – All Music Guide describing it as “sounding as if it’s been produced by Daniel Lanois in an Appalichian town” and “a diamond in the rough.” Canadian folk-music icon Valdy once said, “I’m sorry for all the heartache she has to go through in order to get those juices going, but, yeah, she’s marvelous.” The New York Times may have said it best: “Lynn Miles makes being forlorn sound like a state of grace.”
Therein is the powerful secret behind Miles’ music – her astute observations of life, its trials and triumphs, are the hallmark of sincerity in her music. The gritty honesty of her music never falters – neither does her unshakeable ability to make even the most melancholy lyrics sound as if they are brimming with hope and grace. “Little Bird” infuses her lyrics with an assertive and encouraging voice. “I wrote this song after reading “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Mate. It’s the best book on addiction and articulates the need for compassion when dealing with addictions. The song about what I call The X Factor, the initial source of pain that can cause a person to seek solace in alcohol and drugs.”
Lynn Miles is a musician in the rarest sense of the word, an unmistakable talent, with an eye for both the subtle and sweet that can only be unearthed with experience.
2005 Winner Canadian Folk Music Awards – Best Singer Contemporary
2005 Winner Canadian Folk Music Awards – Best Songwirter – English
2003 Winner Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year
Suggested artist donation $15
Music starts at 7:00 p.m. Socializing from 6:00 p.m.
Light refreshments provided, BYO wine and/or potluck refreshments to share are welcome.
For more information and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at) gmail.com.