Never try to pigeonhole David Myles.
Just when you think you have him figured out he’ll throw you a curve ball.
The Fredericton-born Myles has been doing that now for more than a decade with recordings that embrace everything from folk, pop and old school soul to Latin jazz and rap.
And he does it again on “Real Love”, his 10th studio recording.
This time out the award-winning singer-songwriter has turned back the clock to the late 50s and early 60s when radio was in love with artists like Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline and the lines between rock ’n’ roll and country were not as clearly defined as they would later become.
Myles has a real soft for the music that came out of Nashville during that period. He believes it was more fun than some of the music that came later and really likes the fact it was music that people would get up and dance to and really enjoy hearing.
His affection for that music is the basis for “Real Love”.
“I wanted to make a danceable, really fun record in a way that I wasn’t hearing now,” Myles said in a recent interview for the music websitewww.folkalley.com.
“I do a lot of shows, I love playing live and I love to make people dance, I love to see people move, I love to move myself and I didn’t want to make modern dance music, I didn’t want to make R&B influenced or retro soul. I was more interested in trying to go a little bit country. I love that amped up country sound, rockabilly, of that era.”
That’s what he went for, and with the help of his insanely talented band and producer Daniel Ledwell that’s exactly what he got, a record that captures the spirit and the energy of that period in Nashville with 13 handsomely crafted original songs. Those songs clearly reflect the influences referenced above. And nowhere is that more evident than on tracks like “Night And Day”, the album’s leadoff track, which has Cash written all over it, the Presley-inspired “Cry, Cry, Cry” and “Easy”, which could easily have made the cut for an Orbison record.
The mix here is a good one, mostly upbeat but with some very fine ballads thrown into the mix, ballads like “If You Want Tonight” and the track that closes the record, “Crazy To Leave”.
While the musical choices Myles makes may vary widely from record to record in terms of style some things remain constant, solid production values, the calibre of the arrangements and the musicianship and the attention paid to the vocal tracks. Myles has one of those voices you could listen to all day and never get tired of. He has a wonderfully warm tone, a really nice vocal range and enough power to do whatever he wants. And on “Real Love” he uses everything he’s got.
The vocal harmonies on this record are also pretty sweet, thanks to longtime sidemen Alan Jeffries (guitar) and Kyle Cunjak (bass) and special guests Reeny and Mahalia Smith.
Whether you just want to sit there and soak up the music or push back the furniture and spin your partner around the floor, you’ll find something on “Real Love” to accommodate you. One minute you’re enveloped in lush string arrangements, the next you’re transported to rockabilly heaven.
And it’s a great ride all the way through.
There are no throwaway tracks on this set, they’re all keepers.
“[‘Real Love’ is] a record I’ve always wanted to make … an upbeat, danceable, fun record that harkens back to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll,” Myles says.
- Singer-songwriter David Myles has three Maritime dates next month but all are in Nova Scotia.
- The first of those shows, and the closest, takes place March 9 in Truro at the Marigold Cultural Centre.
- The remaining two spots are in Halifax in the Schooner Room at Casino Nova Scotia March 29 and March 31 where he will perform as part of Bruce Guthro's Songwriter's Circle. Playing on that bill as well are Mo Kenney andAdam Baldwin.
Doug Gallant is a freelance writer and well-known connoisseur of a wide variety of music. His On Track column will appear in The Guardian every second Saturday. To comment on what he has to say or to offer suggestions for future reviews, email him at email@example.com.