Five Questions With… Lynn Miles
The prolific Juno-winning folk/roots artist recently released her 15th solo album, We’ll Look For Stars. Here she describes its creation and her favourite songs, reflects upon the impact the pandemic may have upon her songwriting, and outlines plans and hopes for the year ahead.
By Jason Schneider
Lynn Miles continues to live up to her reputation as one of Canada’s most accomplished singer/songwriters on her latest album We’ll Look For Stars, released independently on July 3. Produced by Dave Draves, the new collection finds the Ottawa native returning to her trademark blend of folk and classic country, following her collaboration with fellow Ottawa artist Lynne Hanson as The LYNNeS.
We’ll Look For Stars is also the fifteenth solo album for the ever-prolific Miles, part of an impressive body of work that has earned a Juno Award and multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards. Outside Canada, her music has been recorded by Grammy-nominated bluegrass artist Claire Lynch and featured on BBC television.
We caught up with Miles to talk about the new album and this latest stage of her career. You can find out more at lynnmilesmusic.ca.
How would you describe We'll Look For Stars in relation to your past work?
It's definitely a continuation of what I started 14 albums ago. It feels a bit like [1996’s] Slightly Haunted, and I think that's because we recorded everything to tape first. It feels warmer. I like it when we can let songs be what they are.
What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?
When we recorded A Heart Can Only Take So Much, I was really happy with the sound we got from the band, and that made me excited for the record overall. I'm also really happy with the title track, which was recorded in one take.
Do you feel this time we're living in right now will influence that next batch of songs you write?
I imagine so. Everything is so intense right now. It's impossible not to feel the changes and the upheaval sweeping the world. That being said, it usually takes a while for me to absorb things and turn them into art. I don't generally write in the middle of a crisis, I'll need to let it settle first.
How have you adapted to engaging with your audience over the past few months?
I've only played three live shows, all socially distanced/backyard/small venue shows. There's something transcendent about the exchange of energy between the performer and the audience. We’re officially launching the album with a live-stream show, and I have mixed feelings about the format. I love playing for a live audience in rooms with good sound. I'm looking forward to playing music with my band. We rehearsed last night, and it felt so good to play music with other humans!
What's your mindset looking ahead to next year and the prospect of hopefully touring again?
I'm a stoic, so I'm good with waiting it out. Taking what comes. I really want to play shows, but I think people in the arts will be the last to start working full-time again in crowded rooms. So I know it's going to be a while. In the meantime, I'm starting to think about my next album, number 16. I have enough songs, but I'll write more, and then start recording demos. And I've just starting learning to play the banjo...