By Mike Dunn
Over the past decade or so, Shaela Miller has established her Alberta country music bona-fides, sticking to an old-school sawdust-on-the-floor, heart-on-your-sleeve style that has always separated her from the pack of star-gazing hit chasers who come and go, leaving her as one of Alberta’s most reliably excellent country artists. On her third LP, Bad Ideas, Miller is at once subtle and energetic with a set of songs as fit for the half ton on the highway and the beer-soaked barrooms.
“Hard Knock Upside My Mind” and the title track kick off the record, “Bad Ideas”, are two barrelhouse two-steppers in succession, while the lead single, “Colour My Love” raises the stakes on heartache. Miller’s always been able to wring every tear out of a sad song, and the subdued feel of “Colour My Love” gives her voice a lot of room to let the quiet grief of the song shine through. “Moanin’” is very hip in its jerky shots that upset a natural sway – the kind of song that makes sure you’re paying attention. “Friend Tonight” has a David Lynch feel, and along with “Willow Tree”, have two of the catchiest hooks on the record.
I once called Miller the “heartache queen of the prairies”, and she’s proved me right yet again on Bad Ideas. I can only think of a few young female Albertan singer-songwriters that have made such a commitment to maintaining the tradition of country music while pushing the style forward and maintaining vitality and quality. Shaela Miller’s been out front, leading the way for a long time.Bad Idea, Independent, Record Review, Shaela Miller