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Shaela Miller gives a warm welcome to touring country acts with The Windy City Opry

Monday 30th, January 2017 / 15:45
By Courtney Faulkner

Photo: Lorelei Hoffarth

LETHBRIDGE — Country crooner and sad songstress Shaela Miller knows how to pull at your heartstrings, with songs about heartache and love lost, powered by her emotive voice and telling lyrics.

“I’m a very emotionally based writer, it’s all my emotions,” says Miller. “It can be a very naked feeling sometimes, I’m just letting it all out there for everyone to see, this is my life, this is what’s going on inside my head.”

“It’s very therapeutic,” says Miller. “I had this ball of burning in me, for like a month, was feeling tight and things were going on in my life, and I was just like I just need to write a song, and nothing was really coming out, and finally I just sat and it all came out so quick. Sometimes it just has to be the right day, the right moment, the right hour in the evening, and it just spilled out, seven verses just like that.”

“Sometimes it’s just a fleeting moment of a feeling, you just feel this surge and the metaphors you choose to get it out there, some people may take it in a different way. You take from it what you need.”

Inspired by her friends in Boots & the Hoots, who host the Pine Cone Opry in Red Deer on the last Thursday of the month, Miller has started the Windy City Opry in Lethbridge to give touring acts a place to play mid-week.

Miller was contacted by Eliza Mary Doyle, who were on tour with Rugged Little Thing in December, and knew it was time to set her inspiration into motion.

“They’re both banjo acts, mostly female-fronted…and I thought of my good friend Amy Nelson, who plays old time banjo in Calgary, I was like this would be a perfect bill,” says Miller. “That is going to be the premise, touring acts or out of town acts, basically trying to build up the bands in Lethbridge so that when they come back for a Friday or Saturday show, people will say, ‘Oh I saw this band, they were awesome,’ and they’ll tell their friends and come out.”

The Windy City Opry takes place the second Wednesday of the month, at the re-opened venue The Slice. Miller plays a few songs to open the night at 8 o’clock sharp. You can dance your heart out to some great country music, and be home in bed before midnight, able to get up for work in the morning with a smile on your face from the fun of the night before.

This month find your way to The Slice on February the 8th to party with the band that started it all, Boots & the Hoots, along with the Danny Dyck Trio of Lethbridge opening, and of course the ‘Heartache Honky-Tonk Queen’ herself, Shaela Miller.

“I think I’m just adding to what a great scene we already have,” says Miller. “I love it. CKXU does such a great job, there’s a lot of really great local bands who are doing things all the time, we have a great art scene, art walks and gallery openings. I think Lethbridge has a great little culture.”

Shaela Miller Band is also recording a new album this month, with anticipation of it being released for this summer’s festival season.

“We’re going to do as much live as possible, to capture all the magic. I’m excited about it, I haven’t released an album in a long time,” says Miller.

“They’re all really dark, songs in minor keys, it’s just what’s coming out of me right now. Even my honky-ton stuff, they’re all lyrically pretty sad and dark. I’m more inspired by sadness and darkness,” says Miller. “The songs speak for themselves, they need to come out of me.”

The next Windy City Opry is Wednesday, February 8th at the Slice with Boots & the Hoots, Danny Dyck Trio and Shaela Miller.

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