Good music and a great voice often transcend listeners’ music tastes.
Heather Lingle, an Early native now based in Montana, is an Americana artist who has both, and more.
Her debut album, Coyote Beauty, was released this past October and reached No. 19 on the Independent Label Chart of New Music Weekly. Her first single, Last Call on Love, spent four weeks on the National Top 40 Chart of New Music Weekly and reached No. 31. She wrote and performed all the songs in the album.
“All the reviews are positive,” Lingle said. “It is very encouraging.”
Lingle’s music has been embraced not only in the United States, but in England, Scotland, New Zealand, and Japan, where fans heard her music through Internet radio stations.
She first appeared on Real Country Japan’s top 200 chart in August and peaked at No. 93 in October.
Before Lingle became a performing artist, she auditioned for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders when she was 18, but ended up working as media security staff for three summers while attending St. Edward’s University in Austin.
“Now my soul hath elbow room,” Lingle said, referring to Shakespeare’s King John, to describe how she felt when she arrived in Montana after her college career.
Born and raised in Early, Lingle moved to Montana 12 years ago “out of a longing for the wild, rugged freedom of the Northern Rockies,” she said. Lingle cites the doubling of the population in Texas since her birth as motivation to find herself a place with more space and solitude.
“Montana today is how I imagine Texas was like 100 years ago,” Lingle said.
Though more permanently based in Montana, Lingle considers herself a Texan. She says that many of her songs are about life in Texas.
“I often find myself bragging about the fact that I’m a sixth-generation Texan,” Lingle said.
Lingleville in Erath County was founded by Lingle’s great-great-grandfather, John Lingle. Her late grandfather, Wesley Lingle, was born in Lingleville. Her biological father, Denton Lingle, was born and raised in Kadane Corner in Wichita County, where the family owned a Shell station – “the only place to go” in the area. He moved to Early in the ‘70s, did well for himself in business and, unfortunately, died of a massive heart attack in 1985 at the Lingle home living room at the age of 40, which Lingle says changed the course of her life.
Lingle’s mother, Peggy Lingle Luker, is a Comanche native. She married Brownwood native Floyd Luker in 1989. Luker is the son of fiddle maker, Beutel Luker.
According to Lingle, she considers herself having two dads.
Family has great influence on Lingle, both musically and spiritually. Both she and Luker – who has been playing upright and electric bass several years for her – were part of the band, The Dirt Daubers. They still play live shows together in Montana. Her mother, Peggy, on the other hand, co-wrote her single, Last Call on Love. Her grandmother, Dorothy Lester, of Comanche trained her voice as a child and gave her opportunities to sing in front of crowds from the age of 7.
Lingle said her first real musical band was an a cappella quartet with three others at Early High School from 1991 to 1993. The group performed at school and in churches.
Lingle’s ultimate goal has always been to write her own music. Though she played the flute in high school, she found herself leaning more toward singing and songwriting rather than playing musical instruments. She played for various bands, like Loose Change, Straw Dog and The Dirt Daubers and performed cover songs by Robert Earl Keen, John Prine and Lucinda Williams, among others. But since she had a strong urge to create and perform her own music, she sought advice from Nashville music producer and Grammy Award winner Steve Fishell, who told her that she needed to learn guitar or piano and start writing her own material. Thus, she took up playing the guitar in 2008. She is self-taught with the guitar, the same way she never took songwriting classes. This, she thinks, has led her to develop her own style, which she considers to be “unique.”
Lingle is now working on building a studio in her living room and is learning how to use all the equipment. She thinks that creating music in one’s own studio allows for more creative freedom.
Because of her love for international travel, she wants to tour Europe and Asia to promote her upcoming second album. While she continues to polish her new songs, she performs in local venues, such as a political fund-raiser last month for Evel Knievel’s son-in-law, who is now mayor-elect of Butte-Silver Bow, Mont. She is also set to do a radio interview and performance at KCOM in Comanche sometime during the first quarter of next year and also plans to visit and possibly perform in Early and Brownwood.
Coyote Beauty is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, HeatherLingle.com and many other websites where music is sold.