Butte singer/songwriter Heather Lingle has album number two out. The Texas-born musician wrote all of the songs except “First Snowflake,” by John Emeigh, and co-wrote the title tune, “Blue Town,” with her grandmother, Dorothy Lester. If it’s not obvious her family is musical, her cousin, Cowboy Slim Rinehart, was one of the first “Singing Cowboys” of the 30s and 40s.
Lingle possesses a powerful alto akin to Stevie Nicks or Miley Cyrus, even displaying the husky shades of Tanya Tucker. She credits Willie and Waylon, Pasty and Dolly, and who could forget Elvis, among influences. She also sang in an a cappella group, and it shows in her good tone. You can’t hide behind instruments when you sing that stuff.
Dad Floyd Luker plays bass and sings harmony, and producer Mark Iwaniak plays everything else on the album: acoustic and slide guitars, bass, banjo, keyboards, percussion. So they’re actually a trio, but Iwaniak makes it sound like he is many people.
The title track, “Blue Town,” is a slow waltz that starts with a nice guitar riff. “Man of Mine” is a pretty belt-buckle shiner, a loper with lots of guitar effects that could cross over into many genres.
Lingle wails on “The Kitchen,” a quick jitterbugger, and “Are We There Yet?” is a bluesy country rocker with nuances of the Muscle Shoals sound. It shows off Lingle’s spot-on country inflections.
On “Melancholy Stew” Lingle sings long sustained notes and bends her voice every which way, while Iwaniak plays a potpourri of cool guitar licks. “The Melody” has a mid-tempo country flair with “yeah yeahs” and clinking banjo, and what? An accordion riff. Nice! This gal can sing with the best of ‘em.
– Mariss McTucker