Renowned folk-roots artist Lynn Miles to perform in Iqaluit May 24
"I’m going up with an open mind and hope that I learn about that part of the world”
Lynn Miles says at her age, touring is like an athletic sporting event of sheer endurance, but even after 20 years of being on the road, she so loves to perform for fans that she still endures the jet lag and sleep disruption.
Miles, an Ottawa-based singer-songwriter and musician who’s performed around the world for two decades, comes to Iqaluit on May 24 for the next show in the Alianait concert series.
Resting after a tour of the Netherlands followed by some shows in Alberta — where a 1930s-style musical play currently running in Edmonton will feature five of her songs — the veteran folk and roots artist says she’s looking forward to her first visit to Nunavut.
“I have friends who have been there,” said Miles, who took home the Solo Artist of the Year award at the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards in November.
“When I think of it, I think of a stark landscape, I think of extremes, extreme beauty and hardship, a combination of many things. I’m going up with an open mind and hope that I learn about that part of the world.”
Miles, who has sometimes been compared to Emmylou Harris both for her songwriting and the richness of her voice, will have a fresh batch of songs to play in Iqaluit from her latest release, Downpour.
A five-star review in Maverick, an independent country music magazine from the United Kingdom, says, “Lynn Miles excels at exquisite melancholy and delivers another aurally addictive course of intensive treatment.
“Thematically, Miles’ eleven lyrics poetically explore stormy relationships, personal isolation and lines of communication that have been torn asunder.”
Veteran music journalist Mike Regenstreif says on his Folk Roots/Folk Branches website that Downpour’s “superbly crafted and beautifully arranged and performed” songs have made this new album his favourite among all of Lynn Miles’ work, “and that says a lot.”
Miles’ songwriting has always been stellar, exploring love and loss, failure and growth. She sings about people you know and maybe some of them are you.
“I’m going to learn from the darkness and the pain that it brings, because I know there’s a lesson in everything,” she sings on Downpour’s “Lesson in Everything,” one of many gems contained on the album.
Miles told Nunatsiaq News that writing songs isn’t particularly difficult for her: “it’s a muscle I know how to use now,” she said.
But finding something to write about — there’s the challenge. She’s constantly searching in books, poetry, film, theatre, in people she meets and in places she goes, for things that inspire her, ideas that arouse passion.
As soon as she’s able to focus in on a new subject, the song itself flows quickly, she said.
“I live my life as a songwriter, I know how to write songs, how to structure them, I know how to do it,” she said. “The hardest thing is finding something that really means something to me that I want to write about that I feel I can be succinct about in three or four minutes. That’s the challenge.”
Perhaps she will find that inspiration in Nunavut.
Tickets for the May 24 show at Inuksuk High School are $22 in advance and $25 at the door and for youth (13 to 18), $12 in advance and $15 at the door. As usual, shows are alcohol and smoke-free and free for elders and children 12 and under, accompanied by an adult.
According to Heather Daley, she will also be hosting music workshops for Inuksuk students on May 23 and the public on May 25.