My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Heather Myles – ‘Just Like Old Times’

just like old times mylesHeather’s debut album in 1992 on the prominent independent roots label HighTone Records drew comparisons with Dwight Yoakam, was tastefully and sympathetically produced by label president Bruce Bromberg, best known for his work with blues artists. Heather was a hardcore neo-honky tonker and the record is packed full of excellent mostly self-penned material in a generally traditional vein.

The outstanding song, the steel-laced ‘Rum And Rodeo’, has an irresistible, sinuous melody. Heather exudes a wearied melancholic regret as she ponders the drink problem which destroyed her cowboy lover and her love for him:

You had my love and then you let it go
It’s been three years since you walked through my door
Now you say you want to start anew
Well, I think I’ve had my fill of you
Cause too much rum and rodeo
Got the better of your cowboy soul
You never spend one night alone
You got no home to call your own

It may not have made mainstream waves, but it is a stunning song and beautiful vocal.

You probably know Jim Lauderdale’s ‘Stay Out Of My Arms’ from George Strait’s cut (on his Easy Come Easy Go album) a year after Heather’s version, which is excellent. Also great are the Bakersfield style shuffle ‘Make A Fool Out Of Me’ and the pacy honky tonker ‘Lovin’ The Bottle Tonight’. The sassy ‘Love Lyin’ Down’ has Heather responding to a man planning to leave with a firm kissoff. ‘I Love You, Goodbye’ is another excellent song, a sweetly sung ballad with a cynical lyric, as the disillusioned protagonist faces her ex-lover with another woman.

‘One Good Reason Why’ is a ballad with a lovely melody and regretful lyric looking back on an adulterous relationship. The title track is a ballad about meeting up with an ex-lover with a subtle Mexican feel. A languid wistful reading of the Stonewall Jackson classic ‘Why I’m Walkin’’ is also good although the Ricky Skaggs’ version from the 80s remains my personal favorite.

The less remarkable but pleasant ‘Changes’ and ‘The Other Side Of Town’ with its sympathetic look at lonely urban lives aren’t bad but not quite as strong as the other songs. She closes with a left-field entry, a sultry blues cheating song written by bluesman Robert Cray (a labelmate) entitled ‘Playin’ In The Dirt’, which works well.

This is a excellent album which deserves to be better known, and probably would be if Heather had had a major label deal. If you lean to the more traditional side of country, pick this one up.

Grade: A

2 responses to “Album Review: Heather Myles – ‘Just Like Old Times’

  1. Razor X December 6, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I agree; this is an outstanding album.

  2. Hoggy from Oz December 8, 2013 at 2:13 am

    This is one of the albums I grew up with, as my parents always used to play it when i was younger. I agree that this really is a wonderful album and I really wish the current crop of mainstream country artists (and I use the term loosely) would employ a similar sound instead of the dreck they pass off as “progressive” country music today. This music sounds just as good today as it did when it was released; a joy to listen to.

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