Excellent music — plain and simple

November 18, 2012

Note to Langenburg Arts Council: If you have an opportunity to bring back David Myles, please do so. I and many others, would really appreciate it.

From the many performers that I have enjoyed, courtesy of the LAC’s Stars for Saskatchewan performing arts series, I now have a new favourite.

Judging from the responses I have heard since Myles’ Friday evening show in the George Layh Theatre, I am not alone. His nearly two-hour concert was one of life’s nice surprises.

In all honesty, I had not heard of David Myles until the LAC announced he was not only going to be part of this year’s series of musical performances but that it was a ‘not to be missed’ show.

As the date of the show drew closer I checked out his website which was filled with superlative comments about his singing and songwriting abilities. Given the nature of the music industry, highlighting the positives is an obligatory part of a performer’s media resume.

But then there were the awards. The website list included the East Coast Music Association’s Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year for 2012, the ECMA’s Recording of the Year and Group Single of the Year for 2011, the Music Nova Scotia Male Artist of the Year in 2010, plus numerous other nominations for prestigious awards.

Given the reported vibrancy of the east coast music scene, those awards sent a clear message that ‘this guy is good’. But even at that, as Friday night arrived and the large audience settled in to their chairs, what we were going to experience was still very much a mystery.

The stage did and didn’t provide any clues about what was to come. It was basically bare of any sound equipment, other than three microphone stands. Given the large assemblage of high tech equipment previous performers have arrived with, the lack of the same was a little disconcerting.

The anticipation only heightened when the three musicians, Myles, guitarist Alan Jeffries and stand-up bass player Kyle Cunjak strode on to the stage, each dressed in a spiffy dark suit, dress shirt and tie. What were we getting ourselves into?

Immediately, however, all uncertainties vanished as the three launched into what would prove to be a memorable night of unpretentious but perfect music. These were three very skilled musicians who required nothing more than their basic six-string guitars, the towering bass, and vocals to totally entertain the audience. This was great music at its basic core.

With a self-deprecating sense of humour and a ‘gift of the gab’ Myles was the perfect host. His voice was rich and clear, to the point he and his band, sang an encore without microphones and the sound still filled the theatre.

Myles sounded very much like another “tall skinny white guy with glasses”, U.S. folk icon James Taylor but with a very broad range of styles moving from a “hot and steamy” love song to a Sam Cooke-style gospel tune to his own doo-wop creations. The fact that almost all of the songs in the show were his own, only added to the audience’s appreciation of what we were hearing. He informed the audience that one song was performed for the very time in public that evening, perhaps providing an indication of his appreciation for the ambiance and reception he and his band had received in Langenburg.

For those who missed the concert there is a second opportunity as Myles is scheduled to perform in the Anne Portnuff Theatre in Yorkton this Thursday, November 1.

Check 783-8722 for ticket availability. That will be the second last show on Myles’ current tour of Saskatchewan. Hopefully, there will be another tour in the future, and hopefully there will be a second stop in Langenburg.

by Bill Johnston, The Four-Town Journal