The Hippo


May 30, 2020








Tammy Lynn & Myles High. Courtesy photo.

Tammy Lynn & Myles High

Upcoming shows: 
Friday, July 25, at 8 p.m. at Village Trestle, Main St., Goffstown
Saturday, July 26, at Stone Church, 5 Granite St., Newmarket 
Sunday, Aug. 31, at Cruising Downtown Manchester (Veterans Park)

Throwback couple
Tammy Lynn & Myles High energize era’s music

By Michael Witthaus

 The sign outside read “All That Jazz,” but a rootsy vibe ruled inside downtown Manchester’s N’awlins Grille on a recent Friday night. Tammy Lynn & Myles High played R&B chestnuts like “Route 66” and “Good Rockin’ Tonight” mixed with 1950s classics from Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran and Johnny Cash.

But the band, led by the husband-and-wife duo of Mike Myles and Tammy Lynn, fit the room like a Crescent City streetcar wheel in a rail. A good example was their take on Berry’s “Nadine.” It’s usually a rave up, but they slowed it down to a bluesy shuffle, casting it in a new light. 
“I like to get that kind of raunchy groove going, get that different feel,” said Myles during the break a few minutes later. 
That kind of reinvention happens a lot on the group’s debut album, Turn My Music On. Lynn shows her love of Wanda Jackson by covering two songs from two different eras for the singer. The murder fantasy “Box It Came In” is faithfully done in the country style Jackson adopted mid career, but the rockabilly twang of “Mean Mean Man” is rendered shimmery, sultry and slightly sinister.
The chameleon act is fortified with nuggets like Willie Egan’s “I Don’t Know Where She Went,” and originals that sound familiar at first listen. Lynn laughed when a fan told her one of them “was just like a real song” — and it’s true. The call-and-response “Maryann” conjures up Frankie Avalon singing to Annette Funicello in a beach party movie. But the couple wrote the tune, and other gems like the album’s title cut.
Credit two decades of playing music as the source of their versatility. The couple met in 1999 after bumping into each other repeatedly at club shows on their nights off. 
“We both liked the same thing,” said Lynn. 
“I think everybody that’s a musician is a fan first,” agreed Myles. “If we don’t have a gig, we try to go out and see someone else that night.” 
Myles and Lynn formed the Garbage/No Doubt-ish band Rude Toys, reaching a high point with a show at CBGB. A few years later, however, the group found itself forced to play covers to get gigs.  So Myles and Lynn switched to rockabilly, launching Raising Scarlet in mid-decade. 
“We wanted to do some covers but not the same old stuff,” Myles said. “I wrote this song called “Sweet As My Baby” — an original with an old feel. That was the inspiration to explore rockabilly, roots rock, that sort of thing, so we can bring in bits of country, blues and jazz.”
That flowed into the new group a couple of years ago, featuring plenty of buried treasure non-originals. 
“It’s material from the ‘40s and ‘50s, so people don’t know it anyway,” Myles said. 
He’d heard Egan’s 1955 jump blues tune on an old records podcast. 
“I love finding songs like that, with really great structure but lost to history.”
The band plays out in a lot of noisy places where music isn’t the main attraction, so they’re looking forward to an upcoming gig at the Stone Church in Newmarket. They’ll be joined by two other Americana performers, Maine folk/blues trio Hilton Park and Sun Records disciples Atomic Raygun, a Manchester band.
Unlike supper club shows where “if people stop and pay attention it freaks you out,” the listening room gig will be a treat, said Myles. 
“We’ve played there a few times; we’re not nervous. One good thing about places like Stone Church and Tupelo is they have a lighting system, so you can’t see beyond the first row. You can’t get nervous when you can’t see anybody.” 
As seen in the July 24, 2014 issue of the Hippo. 

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