Raised on Canada’s Eastern shores by music-loving parents, David Myles has known no bounds when it comes to his obsessive fascination with various musical genres. Myles has numerous albums to his credit in his homeland, and is a recipient of practically every award there is to win – including a JUNO and various accolades accumulated in his native Nova Scotia. Needless to say, he’s built a sizeable following north of our northern border, but has yet to share his talents with stateside audiences. Nattily dressed in a suit and tie, wearing his trademark specs, he looks like Buddy Holly transposed to an after-hours supper club. But Myles’s music conveys a populist appeal that leaves no one lacking. To my ears, he sounds like a cross between James Taylor and Michael Buble, thanks to a low-key, unassuming style that ingratiates him from the first notes forward.
While much has been made in the Canadian press of the fact that Myles easily leaps from rock to jazz, Latin music, and hip-hop to purely country croons, his new album So Far – his first to be released stateside – parlays a pure Americana/folk feel. In a recent interview, Myles said, “My current musical obsessions are Don Gibson and Roger Miller. Lately I can’t get enough of their stuff. Plus, I’m a huge fan of R&B and soul, so there’s always an R&B artist I’m loving. Right now it’s Frank Ocean, but in the ‘all-time fave’ category, I’d have to put Aretha and Smokey Robinson. [They are] musical perfection.
“I started playing music by way of the trumpet,” he adds. “That led me to Chet Baker, which inspired me to sing. Then I read an interview with Miles Davis where he expressed his admiration for Willie Nelson. So I bought Red Headed Stranger and I was hooked. I bought a guitar, and from that point on, all I wanted to do was write songs and sing them.”
So Far boasts a baker’s dozen of Myles’ fan favorites, re-recorded in a subtle acoustic style. It supports the impression that he’s more of a wide-eyed singer-songwriter at heart. Indeed, the disc’s title is apt, considering the fact that it not only sums up his strengths, but also bodes of what’s to come.
“This record was about getting the truest representation of the songs and how I play them with my band,” Myles explains. “I’ve made lots of records in lots of different ways over the years, and with each one, I’ve moved closer and closer to how they would have been done in the ‘50s. In this case, it was us sitting in the same room, no separation, no headphones, no edits, nothing. It was a blast. Once we figured out that we could actually pull it off like that, it was such a major game changer. We could really get into the magic of actually playing and singing together. This is how we sound. When you finish a record and you can say that, that’s a great feeling.”
Aside from making music, Myles also hosts a popular CBC radio program called “East Coast Music Hour,” further testament to his love of music, no matter how diverse. “I love what I do and I feel very lucky to be doing it,” he admits. “I’ve always been an obsessive music fan. I hope I’ll always be engaged and interested in learning about new music, collecting new music and collaborating with other artists. Artists like Willie Nelson, David Byrne, and Duke Ellington have the kind of approach that really inspires me. [They’re] always searching, learning, recording, and sharing the love they have for music with the world.”