Okay, every time we go to the Irene's open mic, we meet someone famous. This time it was LYNN MILES. She sang first - five beautiful songs, two of them new ones from her spiral-bound notebook. I couldn't believe my luck. Then I sat there reeling with shyness, unable to get up the courage to say a thing, while Lynn Miles packed up her stuff and the next singer took the stage.
However, thanks to Carmel's ability to chat with anyone, I did get to speak with Lynn Miles. In fact, she addressed me - to my amazement...
Lynn Miles: Excuse me, are you Jen Gilbert?
Jen G: guh
Lynn Miles: Is it true that you sing Black Flowers?
Jen G: I love your songs. I love you.
I don't really remember the rest, except that it took a while for my feet to touch the ground again. And she has beautiful dark, soulful eyes.
Lynn Miles, I heart you a whole lot.
I just think she's a genius at writing about heartbreak, about confusion, about seeking meaning, about seeking - and rejecting, and being rejected by - love, about loss, about resolve in the face of despair - about the emotional quilt of life, in short - about being human.
She has been an inspiration to me since I first heard her perform. Despite her long track record and the wealth of her musical oeuvre, I didn't hear her until almost ten years ago when Unravel came out. I was just starting to learn the guitar and sing with the Blooming Divas. I don't understand why she is not much much much more famous. She should be, like, Leonard-Cohen-level-famous. I've learned so much about the possibilities of songs and how they communicate from her songwriting. I love listening to and playing her songs (disclaimer - though it really goes without saying - think 'homage' rather than 'cover' - I ain't no Lynn Miles!).
AND THANK YOU to the Elizabeth Riley afficionados who came out to see us: It means so much that you come, especially when you know that we're just up for three songs and then down again. You guys rock. I also heart you guys, like, hardcore.