The Backyard Sessions: Dear Old Miley

Miley Cyrus’ performance of The Backyard Sessions in November 2012 before she cut her hair

By: Nonhle Skosana

If Miley Cyrus ever wanted to grow up and move away from her Disney years, then The Backyard Sessions were something near perfection.  A mature blend of strong vocal range and classical acoustic sound with a dash of indie folk give The Backyard Sessions its soulful country essence.

In the summer of 2012, Miley Cyrus got her band together to perform a series of her favourite songs in a bohemian outdoor setting. With an array of earthly undertones giving off a serene nature to its setting, it is no wonder Miley appears to divulge a sense of maturity that has never been seen before.

Despite her debaucheries media endeavours -where she is half-naked most of the time, listening to The Backyard Sessions makes it hard for anyone to deny her talent in music. Her ability to cover legendary songs with refined technique staying true to the original pieces makes her an exceptional artist. I am no fan of Miley Cyrus, but even i admit…the girl is brilliant!

Miley Cyrus Before and After


Lilac Wine

Written by James Shelton in 1950, Lilac Wine is the first song in the series. The song was first performed in a musical by Hope Faye and has been famously covered by Jeff Buckley, Nina Simone, Elkie Brooks and now Miley Cyrus. In Miley Cyrus’version of the song, the strong vibrations of her vocal chords create a perfect soulful sound that extends its words long enough for the acoustic background to get in sync.


Look What They’ve Done To My Song

Written and first performed by Melanie Safka in 1971, Look What They’ve Done To My Song is the second song in the series. With an extensive acoustical influence, Miley’s impassioned voice is accompanied by her two guitarist. The deep intention that lies within the lyrics create a sense of anguish and grieve which stand out in this cover rendition.


The last song in the series, Jolene by Dolly Parton was released in October 1973 and ranked #219 in Rolling Stones. Miley Cyrus’ sophisticated version of her godmothers hit song does it justice. Her deep throaty voice and serene ensemble of a black long skirt and lace vest create the atmosphere elusive by the backdrop setting of green scenery. Even when performing  Jolene with Dolly Parton she is able to maintain a certain level of standard that almost makes you prefer her deep soulful version more.

There is no doubt that Miley Cyrus does in fact posses a raw talent for music with the ability to maintain a soulful acoustical approach to famous classical songs such as the ones provided in her Backyard Sessions. However, looking at her extreme transformation, not only in appearance but in genre, one cannot help but wonder if Miley was grown up once upon a time in the summer of 2012?

Miley and her band – guitarists Jamie Arentzon and Jaco Curaco, Stacy Jones drums, Mike Scmid on piano, and Vashon Johnson on bass



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