For a guy who went zero for six at this year’s East Coast Music Awards in Charlottetown, David Myles was in a pretty great mood. He has his ECMA’s from the past of course, and a Juno too, so trophies aren’t that important to him. Instead, he’s excited about his next project, one that for the first time he was able to talk about, in this exclusive interview. You see, with Myles, in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.
Myles sat down to talk about his next album, which will be a Christmas disc. He’s been doing Christmas shows for the past four years now in his home province of New Brunswick, a series called Singing For Supper. Myles and band mates Kyle Cunjak (bass) and Alan Jeffries (guitar) hit the malls in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton, and take donations for food banks, raising thousands of dollars in partnership with CBC. Now, he’s taken it a step further, and was happy to finally be able to spill the beans on the plan that’s been kept under wraps for months now. I started out by asking how far along he was in recording the album, and that caused a big smile across Myles’ face. Then I just let him talk, so here’s the transcript:
“It is done. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s because we did it at Christmas. The key was recording it while we were it the spirit. I didn’t want to force it in any way, I didn’t want to be doing it in June, I didn’t want it to feel like a chore, I wanted to feel really into this. We did the food bank tour this (past) year, and the next day we went into the studio. We recorded in the most organic way we have yet, no separation, no headphones, everything live. Al does a lot of beautiful playing, there’s a lot of great singing, harmony stuff, it came together beautifully. It’s called It’s Christmas. That’s the title track, and the first song, it’s one that I wrote. The three originals, it’s strange, but I think they are some of my strongest songs.
“This is very much my next record. It’s funny, because I had been thinking about it for awhile, but I was conscious of the fact that I really didn’t want to make it a novelty thing, I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Then he did a Christmas record, and then he went back to making records’. I want the Christmas record to be as important as all of my records. I wanted to wait until I felt like that. And I did, and it was an amazing experience. I wrote a few songs, so there’s a few originals, and again, that was part of it, I wanted to make sure I was in a place where I was doing something original, that was me. So I wrote a few songs, and they went really, really well. I got fully inspired, and I think it was having done those food bank shows in New Brunswick over the last few years, it sounds cheesy, but it totally reinstalls the spirit of Christmas in you. It’s been the best thing.
“It is super-effective, we’re starting to raise real money, it’s not going to stop, it’s going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. When you see people’s generosity, and the different people that come out to the shows now, and the different ages, kids and seniors, everybody’s coming out and supporting a good cause. And people love hearing Christmas music, and I love singing it! I have an affinity for older music, and most of the classic Christmas songs are written in that generation of great songs. They are great melodies. So it was a nice opportunity to learn those songs, spend some time on the guitar. You start singing White Christmas over and over again, you go, man this is a beauty. It really challenges your voice and people love to hear it, they are classic songs for a reason. I would say there are four or five standards, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Chestnuts (AKA The Christmas Song), White Christmas, not that many. There are three originals, and then I wanted to find some other songs. I’ve been on a real country kick, and I found this really cool song on a Jimmy Wakely record, it’s called Star Of Hope, and it is a beauty country song. And then I found another on Buck Owens Christmas album, which is a really cool one called Blue Christmas Lights. And I do a cover of Meaghan Smith’s It Snowed, which I think is one of the best new Christmas songs I’ve heard.”
Plans are still coming together, but Myles says he’ll be touring the album nationally, a full Christmas concert. Whether it will be the full Singing For Supper model hasn’t been worked out yet, but that’s going to continue in New Brunswick regardless. “There’s going to be a food bank connection, we still haven’t figured it out nationally, when I play in different cities, how I’m going to incorporate food banks. In New Brunswick of course, there will be more. And we’ll still do the tour there, we’ll keep doing it each year.”
So stay tuned, it’s only 259 days until Christmas.