David Myles is from the East Coast, but he’s well travelled across the Great White North.
He’s even done some hard time in small-town Saskatchewan playing curling rinks, church basements and community centres before older audiences who often didn’t know who Myles was. It was challenging for him and his band, but they had lots of fun and polished their live show, which is coming to Ottawa this weekend in a sold-out Fourth Stage show.
Myles is from Fredericton and tours with two fellow Frederictoners on upright bass and acoustic guitar. His latest tour is in support of his album In the Nighttime.
Nighttime showcases two very different sides of Myles’s musical personality. While he’s spent six albums cultivating his folky, crooner skills, his more recent collaboration with rapper Classified (Luke Boyd) shows off his pop side.
The two musicians have worked together on several songs, most notably on the huge single Inner Ninja, the No. 1-selling rap recording of all time in Canada and a Juno winner for rap recording of the year. In the Nighttime’s Disc 2 is an EP-length recording of their most recent work together.
On paper, it’s an unlikely duo. Myles grew up playing Royal Conservatory trumpet. Boyd has no formal music training. But the two men bonded over a shared love of experimentation.
“It’s really fun because both of us love making music, being in the studio and being kind of reckless with our ideas,” Myles said. “He doesn’t necessarily have all the traditional musical education, but he knows exactly how a song should feel, when it should move, what the chorus should do. He shares the same kind of enthusiasm for making music that I do.”
Though Boyd isn’t on the tour, Myles still plans to showcase the music the pair worked on, albeit in a more stripped-down format.
“Even though it appears to be totally different from my music, at its core it’s still me playing guitar and singing. The beats are always added on top of me playing and singing.”
The songs on Disc 1 of In the Nighttime stick closer to his folky vocalist roots, and he combines the two discs at his live shows. Part introspective writer, part entertainer, Myles strives to make his concerts about more than just the songs. He said storytelling is important, as is dressing up to get himself in the right frame of mind.
“I’m really into it being a show. I don’t shy away from the entertainment part of my job,” Myles said. “That’s part of the reason I got into it. I love watching entertainers from the ’50s and ’60s when you had to be a showman.”