My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Spotlight Artist: Heather Myles

Heather+MylesWhen Dolly Parton asked, “Why don’t more women sing honky-tonk songs?” she clearly was not referring to Heather Myles; the Riverside, California native, who was born on July 31, 1962, is one of country music’s few female honky-tonkers and one of an even smaller number of female artists associated with the Bakersfield sound. Her parents owned a horse ranch, and from an early age Heather was exposed to the music of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, and Loretta Lynn. Unlike many other country artists, however, she was no child prodigy. She didn’t own her own guitar until she was 21, she was 24 before she finally joined a band, and she was 30 when her first album was released. That project, 2002’s Just Like Old Times, consisted mainly of her own original songs and was the first of a pair of album’s released by HighTone Records. Her second album Untamed was released in 1995.

By the mid-90s country music had moved in a more pop direction, making it difficult for Heather’s music to gain any mainstream traction. HighTone’s lack of an adequate distribution system also made it difficult for fans to find Heather’s music and ulitmately led to her departure from the label after the release of Untamed. Though she wasn’t enjoying much commercial success at home, she developed a loyal following in Europe and spent the better part of the next four years in the United Kingdom. The European country music fan base, though small, tends to favor more tradition-based music, which was a good fit with Heather’s musical style. Her 1996 live album, Sweet Little Dangerous, was recorded in England and released on Britain’s Demon label.

By 1998 Heather had signed with Rounder and released Highways & Honky Tonks, which included a duet with Merle Haggard. 2002’s Sweet Talk and Good Lies paired her for a duet with Dwight Yoakam. Her most recent album In The Wind, was reviewed by Occasional Hope when it was released in 2010.

Mainstream success has continued to elude Heather, in no small part due to her refusal to alter her sound in concession to the pop-flavored country currently in vogue. However, her cult following in Europe and the exposure she’s received on Americana radio stations, have enabled her to eke out a respectable living from her music. IF you like your country straightforward and unapologetic, Heather’s the girl for you. We hope you’ll enjoy the coverage as we spotlight her career during December.

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4 responses to “Spotlight Artist: Heather Myles

  1. Paul W Dennis December 2, 2013 at 7:04 am

    For those outside the realm of bluegrass, it is difficult being an unabashed traditionalist. Radio won’t play your music and there aren’t showcases such as exist in bluegrass with its big multi-day festivals.

    Heather Mills is an absolute gem. I have all of her albums except SWEET LITTLE DANGEROUS and they are all at least very good and some of them truly great. I look forward to reading more about Ms Myles

  2. AndyTheDrifter December 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Very cool choice for a spotlight artist. I’ve heard one or two of her albums and count myself as a fan, but I could definitely stand to learn more about her work. Looking forward to this month!

  3. Tom December 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Great pick, folks. Should make some interesting reads.

  4. Luckyoldsun December 2, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Well, I’ll go out on a limb and predict that the Heather Myles retrospective will generate a lot more interest–at least if the number of comments is a fair measuring stick–than the Allison Krauss recap. Is that one over yet? Sheesh!

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