The best singer-songwriter you’ve never heard of

Actually, she may be the best singer-songwriter. Period.

I’m talking about Canadian folk singer Lynn Miles. If I were shipped off to the proverbial deserted island with the music of just one artist to keep me company, I’d take Lynn Miles’s four CDs.

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Miles since her album Slightly Haunted came out around 1996. She has the perfect aching voice for the heart-gripping songs she writes. An early review in the New York Times said of Lynn that, “She makes being forlorn seem like a state of grace.” But it isn’t just about being forlorn. Ms. Miles sings about life, frequently using nature as metaphors, as in “I’m the moon” from her album Unravel, with the following refrain:

I am ice
I am stone
I am a statue
standin’ all alone
melt me down
make me bloom
you’re the sun
I’m the moon

The first song of hers I ever listened to was “You Don’t Love Me Anymore,” the first cut on the Slightly Haunted album:

I saw you at the party,
I tried to catch your eye.
You would not turn towards me,
An’ I felt something start to die.

You leaned against the counter,
Blew some smoke into the air.
Was it you who used to tell me,
That the trick is not to care?

You don’t love me anymore.
An’ in your heart, you’re out the door.
It’s getting harder to ignore,
That you don’t love me anymore.
That you don’t love me anymore.

It’s not that I would crumble,
It’s just these long drawn out sad goodbyes.
An’ I would rather just start walkin’,
Have to hear your alibis.

‘Cause you don’t love me anymore.
An’ in your heart, you’re out the door.
It’s getting harder to ignore,
That you don’t love me anymore.
That you don’t love me anymore.

Well, heart, it is a rambler;
Tell me who can understand?
‘In love’ is like a warm wind,
‘Cause you can’t hold it in your hand.

You don’t love me anymore.
An’ in your heart, you’re out the door.
It’s getting harder to ignore,
That you don’t love me anymore.
That you don’t love me anymore.

Is there a better evocation of the pain of fleeting love? “It’s not that I would crumble/It’s just these long drawn out sad goodbyes./An’ I would rather just start walkin’/Then have to hear your alibis.”

I was fortunate to see Lynn perform at a small venue in Burlington seven or eight years ago, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. She comes to the states from time to time, so watch for her. But in the meantime, check out her music. You’ll see. She’s great.

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