Lynn Miles

Slightly Haunted

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With her Philo/Rounder release, Ottawa singer/songwriter Lynn Miles graduates to the international stage from her domestically well-received, 1991 indie debut Chalk This One Up to the Moon. Her multi-octave voice and openly-structured material bathe in a suggestive aura that perfectly suits the concept of Slightly Haunted. More straightforward numbers like "You Don't Love Me Anymore" and "I Always Told You the Truth" touch on a quasi-country-folk vibe in a Nanci Griffith vein, heightened by the guest harmonica/mandolin contributions of "underground" folk legend Willie P. Bennett. But it's the phased, echoing atmosphere of "Long Time Coming" and the eerily cascading strings of "This Heart That Lives in Winter" that most exemplify Miles' musical development. The key strategic weapon in her arsenal is new accomplice Ian Lefeuvre, who adds layers of guitar texture that range from deceptively simplistic to accessibly complex. Playing off John Geggie's accomplished double bass, Lefeuvre colors canvasses on "I Know It Was Love" and the chiming "Ghost of Deadlock" that peel the paint right off Mark Knopfler soundtracks. Still, the marquee songstress can be most powerful, as on "Loneliness" and "Last Night," when naked voice and acoustic guitar carry out stealth commando raids. Don't look to Miles for much in the way of social commentary (although "Big Brown City" takes a crack at "...the screams of sirens/and the talk of the town/There is the smell of money/And the deal going down") -- as the song titles above suggest, affairs of the heart drive Slightly Haunted, although it's a pleasure to find that you only rarely experience a sense of "deja heard."

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