The LYNNes Heartbreak Song for the Radio www.TheLynnes.com
Lynne Hanson and Lynn Miles, the two well-established Ottawa singers and songwriters who meld their names as The LYNNes, need no introduction to those familiar with the Canadian folk scene. For the rest:
- Lynn Miles has been a force within the Canadian music industry, recording more than a dozen albums
- She received a Juno Award for Best Roots and Traditional Album for Unravel, a recording that has stood the test of time to be regarded in some circles as essential listening, and has been recognized with Canadian Folk Music Awards
- Nominated for additional Juno Awards, Miles has produced albums for Lynne Hanson, and has toured the country on numerous occasions including with Keith Glass
- Her “Black Flowers” was a highlight of Claire Lynch’s North By South
- Lynne Hanson has recorded six albums, including a pair produced by Miles
- Recognized with nominations at both the Canadian Folk Music Awards and the Kerrville Folk Festival, she received the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award in 2010
- Her albums Uneven Ground, River of Sand, and Once the Sun Goes Down are among the finest country-folk/Americana albums one can hope to encounter
Heartbreak Song for the Radio is stellar. The pairing of Miles and Hanson is natural, their harmonies clean and tight (but not staid) and as they take turns in the lead position, their songs have vibrant energy compelling the listener to lean in and absorb each note, word, and phrase.
The title track is an elegy for a broken, impossible relationship, and a better title for the album is hard to imagine: each of the ten tracks captures folks in places best left to the songwriter, as others would crumble under the intensity of the emotions explored.
While some of the experiences may explore emotional darkness, the album isn’t burdensome. Most of the songs maintain that which would be categorized as ‘mid-tempo,’ but there is nothing about Heartbreak Song for the Radio that drags. Like early albums from Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucinda Williams, and even Guy Clark, the songs are sufficiently balanced to maintain buoyancy.
“It’s only walking through the fire, you learn just who you are,” they sing on “Blame It On the Devil,” just one of many songs that seem to have more than a little duo-ography within it. And Miles and Hanson are certainly self-aware. They play to their strengths—keenly revealed portraits of those gaining forbearance and wisdom from introspection and realization.
“I can’t make a door if you’re only building walls,” Hanson sings in “Blue Tattoo,” perhaps the album’s finest track, embracing the pain of the needle to counteract the numbness of absence. Individual credits aren’t provided, but one guesses it is Kevin Breit’s guitar providing the melancholy lead notes punctuating the number.
“Heavy Lifting,” “Halfway to Happy,” and “Cost So Much” bring additional energy, while “Recipe For Disaster” and “Cost So Much” are unadulterated country. The album is replete with intelligent but never too clever lines, ones that provide uncontrived insight. “Wouldn’t have gone and paid my dues, if I knew it was gonna cost so much” being just one example.
These songs are real, ones that if they haven’t been lived by Miles and Hanson have been experienced by others sitting at lonely tables, contemplating choices made.
Beautiful stuff, this. Seek it.