My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Heather Myles – ‘Highways & Honky Tonks’

highways and honky tonksHeather’s third studio album, and fourth overall, saw her move to Rounder Records. It consists almost entirely of self-penned originals, all very well written and well-suited to Heather’s voice and style. Pete Anderson, best known for his work with Dwight Yoakam, plays lead guitar.

Rounder was a little more aggressive in its marketing than her previous labels, with a couple of the less hardcore honky tonk numbers released as singles, although neither received much airplay.

The excellent ‘True Love’ is a wearied but compassionate declaration of love for a man who is out playing the field, with an underlying acknowledgment of her own folly in waiting for him despite her friends’ advice. The second single, the ballad ‘Love Me A Little Bit Longer’, is a love song about a relationship which has seen its hard times but still has some life left in it. Both are mature and believable depictions of realistic situations.

The opening ‘You’re Gonna Love Me One Day’ is quite a good mid-paced song which offers a warning that the man leaving her will eventually regret it.

‘Broken Heart For Sale’ is a more traditional heartbreak ballad with melodic steel, while ‘You’ve Taken Me Places I Wish I’d Never Been’ has a grittier feel with Anderson’s twangy guitar particularly prominent.

The tender ballad ‘No One Is Gonna Love You Better’ is a duet with Merle Haggard, with some lovely fiddle dominating the arrangement. Haggard is in fine voice and their voices meld very well, while the lyric (about a relationship which may not last, but is the best they’ll ever have) nods to Hag with the line,
I know you’re a ramblin’ man

This is a definite highlight. Another favorite, ‘Who Did You Call Darlin’’ has a Tex Mex feel which makes it sound upbeat despite the accusing tone of the lyrics, in which a wife calls out her cheating, drinking husband, who comes staggering in “smelling like a perfume factory”.

The honky tonker ‘Playin’ Every Honky Tonk In Town’ is also great, while later she pleads for ‘Mr Lonesome’ to leave her alone. ‘Rock At The End Of My Rainbow’ while still solid, is perhaps the least interesting song included.

A couple of covers are thrown in: the sunny Charley Pride hit ‘Kiss An Angel Good Morning’ and a very enjoyable version of Ray Price’s ‘I’ll Be There’, but the meat of album is Heather’s own excellent songs. She really should have been a bigger star.

Grade: A

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2 responses to “Album Review: Heather Myles – ‘Highways & Honky Tonks’

  1. Paul W Dennis December 19, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Yes, she really should have bee a bigger star, but her refusal to record radio-friendly pablum worked against her. On the other hand, that integrity is one of the thiongs that has made her a favorite of those who prfer thew more traditional sounds

    I hope she still is an active performer. Her website appears to have been removed

  2. AndyTheDrifter December 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

    This is a very solid record. Myles is too good and too country for radio, but it’s their loss.

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