Heather Myles – “Pretty Poison”

Juli Thanki | April 5th, 2011

heather-myles If one’s level of fame was proportional to one’s talent and hard work, Heather Myles would be one of the biggest stars in country music. She’s spent the past two decades playing dusty honky tonks and releasing excellent, Bakersfield-influenced albums that, for the most part, have flown under the radar. She’s still persevering, though, and her newest single is classic Myles: catchy, country, well-written, and solidly performed.

“Pretty Poison,” from 2010 album In the Wind, is allegedly inspired by the Jennifer Aniston-Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie triangle/tabloid fodder of a few years ago. In the song, Myles places herself in the Aniston role, mournfully describing the woman with “luscious lips and hair of fire” who has so enchanted her man. Thanks to those vivid descriptions of the other woman, the song is somewhat reminiscent of “Jolene,” although Myles’ vocals lack much of Parton’s pleading and vulnerability. Instead, there’s a weary resignation as she sings the chorus: “Pretty poison went walking by/Pretty poison tells the sweetest lies/Now there’s nothing I can do/To break the spell she has on you.”

Myles has always had the ability to write a fantastic hook, and “Pretty Poison” is no different from any of her earlier work in that regard. That, combined with her full-bodied voice and the song’s deliciously twangy arrangement, makes the song an enjoyable, toe-tapping listen. Mainstream country radio has never taken to Myles (her lone single to chart topped out at #75 in 1999), or women over 45 not named Reba. But if they ever change their collective mind, thanks in part to the neo-neo-traditional movement spurred on in part by the recent successes of Chris Young and Easton Corbin and others, “Pretty Poison” would be a fine addition to the playlist.

Thumbs Up

  1. Thomas
    April 5, 2011 at 6:11 am

    …the first sentence of the review says it all – then again, here in the real world, it’s just another good country song radio, most likely, can’t be bothered with.

    never mind, going for the whole album and not only for single-downloads is usually the way to go, when it comes to her music.

    April 5, 2011 at 7:27 am

    “…or women over 45 not named Reba.” I swear Juli, you are cracking me up this week.

    Let’s see, song sounds country, has a good theme, not overpowered by production, sang with a unique voice, and not sung with teeny-boppers in mind, nah, doesn’t thave a change on radio.

    Reformed Waynoe

  3. Fizz
    April 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Not shabby at all …

  4. Dave D.
    April 5, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Good stuff. While we are long overdue for another neo-traditional movement, I’m not holding my breath given the current state of mainstream radio. Thank goodness for satellite radio that plays Heather (and Robbie Fulks, Amber Digby, Dale Watson, Paul Burch, Sarah Borges et al) on a regular basis.

  5. Paul W Dennis
    April 6, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Heather has long been a mainstay in the rotation of my CD player. She never disappoints

  6. TX music jim
    April 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    She is great! the play her daily on 95.3 the range out of plano one of the few americana stations that has made it been on the air 15 years.

  7. Donald
    April 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    In the Wind isn’t available in Canada via my two digital choices, iTunes and eMusic. Unfortunate. I like how Juli mentions Dolly’s pleading in “Jolene”. When I was younger, I really liked the song until I realized how damn desperate and ultimately wimpy the protagonist sounded. Heather Myles couldn’t sound like that if she tried, although to Dolly’s credit her song obviously struck a chord. I’d love to hear the full song Pretty Poison song or album; apparently it has been out since late 2009. Missed that one.

  8. Rick
    April 6, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I’ve owned Heather’s album “Sweet Talk & Good Lies” for what seems like forever. I just love the songs “Nashville’s Gone Hollywood”, “Little Chapel” (duet with Dwight Yoakam), and “Big Cars”.

    Once I called Eddie Stubbs while he was hosting a request show on WSM and requested “Nashville’s Gone Hollywood” and he wasn’t familiar with it! Crikey mate!

    When the “Sweet Talk” album first came out LA’s then Top 40 country FM station KZLA (93.9) had Heather in the studio a couple of times and spun songs off the album. Sadly the station never played the songs otherwise as they weren’t on the Top 60 charts. Heather grew up here in Southern California in a well to do thoroughbred horse breeding family from what I’ve read but was obviously too big to be a jockey! (lol) Heather has now established a relationship with the “Heart of Texas” label folks and I’m glad she has since they appreciate what she does. Go Heather!

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