By Diane Larson
“I feel so grateful to be able to play music that people want to hear and that makes an impact and that I get to actually make money at it,” says Heather Lingle, Butte’s own singer-songwriter of Americana music.
At about the age of 8, Heather began performing in front of her church. This she says is the beginning of her love for music and performing. Shortly after music, would take on a more important role.
When Heather was ten years of age her father passed away. This event changed her whole perspective. She would use dance as a way of to find comfort. What dance didn’t fill or heal, music did. Music started to become much more important and helped her heal. Victor Hugo said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Dance and music helped to express what she felt from such a loss and heal the pain.
Heather studied dance for sixteen years. Both music and dance remain key components in her life. Yet she didn’t study music formally. She considers herself to be a natural musician. Her step-dad, Floyd Luker, also a member of her band, “has been a great influence on my life and has mentored me in music for many years, Heather explains.”
In college, Heather studied philosophy and theology for which she holds a bachelors and a master’s degree.
When she was younger Heather experienced a deep calling to ministry. She attended a Catholic University and felt a calling to be a priest. Heather is an Episcopalian and at that time in the church, women were not allowed to become priest. Not giving up on her strong calling to ministry she took what she felt the next natural step. She began looking into being a nun. But as she pursued that avenue, door after door seem to close on her and she soon realized that being a nun was not meant to be.
Today Heather’s call to ministry takes her to teaching Sunday school and outreach programs through her church. Spirituality remains a major part of her life, and her spirituality finds its way into her music as well.
Heather considers her music to be Americana. When asked to describe the Americana style of music she explained that Americana has been an obscure genre for years. It is a music that comes from all over the country. “It really blends folk, country, sometimes blues, sometimes rock,” said Heather. In the end it is American roots music, it is very much embedded in the rural culture of America and travels through the many places that are America. Thirty years ago it could have been labeled as country, but country music has changed and this type of music is steeped in traditional America, explained Heather.
Through the years she says that many have tried to persuade her to move to a larger venue where her music can be exposed to many more people. Places such as Austin, or Nashville. But Heather likes Butte, and Butte is a muse of sorts for her.
Butte is a great place to live for an artist; Heather explained, it has an inspired atmosphere that gives energy to the creative, she said. She went on to say, “There is a synergy right now with visual artist, performing artist, I think it’s really rich with that creative culture and I feed off of that.”
Heather uses her background in philosophy to help communicate some of the more complex thoughts and ideas she gets for her music. She does not consider herself a philosophical song writer, but it is a tool she uses. “Through philosophy you really learn how to analyze information in kind of a higher level thinking, a more abstract way and when I’m writing I pull a lot from that,” Heather explains. “Philosophy helps me weed out the unnecessary and deliver something digestible,” she said.
Heather can also be seen performing with her partner John Emeigh. Together they are Anglophilia and sing covers of hits from the British Invasion era. “John takes the lead and I sing harmony, dance. Basically I am John’s sidekick,” she says with a huge smile. She says they work really well together and it is something she enjoys.
In July Heather released a video for her song, “Man of Mine” which was a project between her and John. John did all the camera work and editing. You can view her video at, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElIsiDxLJHc.
When asked about what sort of venue she liked playing, Heather said that she loves it when she is playing with her band and there is a dance floor. In this atmosphere because of her background in dance as well as music she says she gains a lot of energy.
Heather’s band consists of her step-dad, Floyd Luker, Mark Iwaniak, Kevin McGlynn, and Michael McDaniel.
In 2017 Heather will release her third album. Just about all of Heather’s music is her original, although she has written with her mom, her grandmother and has recently started collaborating with her partner John Emeigh.
Lord Lytton, an English novelist, poet and playwright said, “Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.”
Heather’s approach to music in her life, as well as how she so graciously gifts her music to the world, and how she uses her environment in her music is the embodiment of Lytton’s quote.
For a complete calendar of the events where you can find Heather go to her web site at www.heatherlingle.com. Check out her music, I don’t think you will be disappointed.