A writer in full command of her craft.
Sid Smith 2010-12-31
At first glance there’s something unassuming and, in some respects, unremarkable about the eighth studio album by this Canadian singer-songwriter. Like many albums from the country and western stable, these neatly manicured songs deal with the usual time-honoured themes and dreams familiar to both lovers and detractors of the genre. Yet the real measure of this particular record’s worth can be measured by the speed at which any of the tunes from Fall For Beauty burrow deep into the subconscious.
With a voice that hovers somewhere between the earthiness of Nanci Griffith and the light-as-air flutter found in the vocals of Emmylou Harris at her most ardent, Miles can work wonders on songs which might be worthy but otherwise undistinguished. Only a few singers have that kind of Midas touch and she shows off that rare ability to great effect.
Up-tempo, catchy-as-hell numbers such as Something Beautiful and Fearless Heart radiate a winning, good-time feel, and its impossible not to warm to the swaying charms of Three Chords and the Truth. Here she takes the quote about the essence of country music made famous by revered writer Harlan Howard, and marries it to a smart and affectionate pastiche of Willie Nelson’s Pretty Paper.
Perhaps the best moment on the album is also its most simplest and direct. On the starkly produced Love Doesn’t Hurt, she stares at the myriad of paradoxes and consuming energies created when two people fall in love, and considers the consequences of what happens when love turns into abuse. Poignant without being in any way sentimental, it shows a writer in full command of her craft.