Rick Keene reviews David Myles in Montreal

December 14, 2014
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David Myles made his way into the city of Montreal on Saturday night. Given the ‘snowy fact’ the New Brunswick–born Juno Award winner is on tour promoting a Christmas album; ‘a Miracle on 34… er… Ste. Catherine Street seemed to take place.

Myles is not your average looking music star. Given the horn rimmed glasses, tuxedo and polite neighbor–next–door attitude, David could be Buddy Holly. Wait… Buddy Holly was a music star… ! Never mind.

It’s Christmas is Myles’ newest CD and with three more shows to go before ‘It’s Christmas’ – David and his touring mates Kyle Cunjak (acoustic bass) and Alan Jeffries (acoustic–electric guitar) were in the giving spirit. What they delivered was a ‘peaceful easy feeling’ with absolutely no eagles in site. A true Canadian show…

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The new Christmas album was almost delivered in it’s entirety. Starting with the song ‘It’s Christmas’ (an original composition penned by Myles), the evening’s tone was set. The song, a throwback to a different era refreshing in it’s innocent lyrical content, easy going nature and sing-a-long chorus, something Irving Berlin may have been proud of. ‘The Gift’ – another Myles original, definitely would have made Irving do cart wheels. Luscious lyrics which stab deep into the heart of the most ardent of Scrooges. Combined with David’s ‘I wouldn’t hurt a fly’ vocals, ‘The Gift’ a gift which should keep on giving for generations to come.

Added to the festive evening was ‘The Christmas Song’ ( Mel Torme, Robert Wells), ‘Let it Snow’ (Sammy Cahn, Julie Styne), ‘White Christmas’ (Berlin), ‘Blue Christmas Lights’ (Buck Owens, Red Simpson) and ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas’ (Kim Gannon, Walter Kent, Buck Ryan) – some of the most loved holiday songs were ‘present’ and accounted for. Kyle and Adam providing the right amount of volume, talent and know how as a backing band to enhance an …

Incredible voice.

David Myles has two levels in his vocal delivery. The first – a Canadian East Coast boy with a living-room demeanor. A relaxing consultation placing everyone within earshot at ease. No matter the time of year.

Secondly – and perhaps more astonishingly, the man hits a baritone-ish level which sometimes reaches Presley-eque proportions. Seldom does a voice come across with such profoundness. Such velvety levels. Such beauty. Such fluidity.

L’Astral provided the space, the audience provided the French Canadian ambiance. David Myles embraced the culture by speaking fifty percent of the show in French. As an Englishman from New Brunswick, an English/French–Acadian province, a pretty good idea when attempting to gain a fan base in Quebec. Myles is not only perfectly bilingual with his self depreciating witty and intelligent banter/humour – the co-writer of ‘Inner Ninja (Rap recording of the year – 2013 with Classified) can also sing like Charles DeGaulle’s nephew as well.

‘Les Cloches du Hameau’ (John Keister, Ron Huff, Ric Wake) was performed with perfection. A song which grabbed oohs and ahhhs from the mostly French audience. Quebecers hold French tunes in high esteem and adore it when these songs are embraced by any artists who perform in the province of Quebec. It’s a cultural thing and if Myles did not know this previous to last night’s heartfelt performance – he does now.

Nova Scotians and denizens of New Brunswick have that Cajun connection. The pair of provinces huge in the Bluegrass music scene. Myles et al captured that feeling with Christmas songs and various other material from past albums. They captured it like a beautiful butterfly in a net. Like a painting on a canvas.

Just like that butterfly, just like that painting – enjoy it for a moment and let it go. Music, paintings and butterflies are meant to be free. Don’t worry – they come back. Don’t worry …

You may just get that net, that paintbrush and that banjo. David Myles, the self-professed ‘nerd’ did and he will be back bigger than ever in Quebec and Montreal …

by Rick Keene, Rick Keene Music Scene