While on a late December drive up to Aroostook County to see family, I started scanning the radio dial in hopes of finding some good music or a talk show to keep me company.
I was still a few miles south of the Houlton exit when I heard part of a song that nearly made me drive off the road. The music and static were fighting each other as I pulled over in hopes of finding a spot where I could pull in the distant signal.
I heard a burning rockabilly guitar solo, a driving rhythm section and a baritone vocal that demanded my attention. And then it was gone. I didn’t know if it was a brand-new song or something recorded decades ago. I needed to know the name of the artist. I kept the radio dial glued to that position as an announcer’s voice briefly rose from the white noise – “miles.” Did he just say “miles?” Maybe it’s a name.
And so began a search that ended just two weeks ago when I employed the Google machine to try a variation on the spelling – “Myles singer rockabilly.”
It was David Myles, a young Canadian singer/songwriter and performer, originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick and currently of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Come to find out, I had heard part of “Night & Day,” – the opening track from David’s just-released 10th album, “Real Love.” I’m happy to report that the rest of the album is as striking as its opener.
Myles’ list of awards and achievements in his home country is staggering. That I am only just now discovering his sublime catalog of work makes this music-obsessive feel like a newbie.
“It’s kind of an amazing thing,” Myles told me during a phone interview. “I’m so close to the US/Canada border and very few people south of the border know my music. And there are lots of bands in the northeast that I don’t know for the same reason.”
Myles and his band performed shows last summer in Rumford, Farmington and Portland. “And we plan on coming back through this year,” he said. “It’s so fun for me to explore Maine. I spent a lot of time there as a kid, but now as an artist, it’s added a bit of fire to the whole operation. We’re all excited about it.”
Myles told me that his new album materialized after he had gone through an intensive period of listening to the music of Don Gibson, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly.
“My fascination led me to find out how to get into that style but make it sound modern,” Myles said. “I love that era of singer – where they sang country ballads – slow and relaxed, where they kind of crooned. They were great, great singers, but they were just taking their time, while the band rocked! The bands were starting to get electrified and exciting. It was countrified dance music. I like to make people dance and I like the idea of exploring upbeat, dancey-type music that is not the kind of dance music we hear now.”
Not long ago, Myles visited Nashville’s RCA Studio B – a legendary room where Elvis Presley recorded “How Great Thou Art,” The Everly Brothers recorded “All I Have To Do is Dream,” and Roy Orbison recorded “Running Scared.”
“They played back some of the music that had been recorded there, and I was like ‘That sound kicks so much ass. That is such an amazing sound,” Myles says of the trip which helped shape his next move.
After returning home to Halifax, Myles kept hearing that sound in his head, already rapt with the mystery and wonder he discovered during his recent 1950s listening phase.
A gifted songwriter, Myles pays close attention to the structure of his songs. He knows when to burn and when to lay back. With a combination of craftsmanship and inspiration, he set out to write a new set of countrified dance songs that allowed him to sing in that aforementioned relaxed style, while his band rocks behind him.
From the dance-inspiring title song, “Real Love” to the moody jazz-noir soundscape of “Night After Night” to the musical metaphor that is “Knockout,” you need to hear this album.
For the pure love on display in “If You Want Tonight” to the upbeat hook-drenched “Cry, Cry, Cry” to the country two-step vocal-workout on “Everybody Knows,” you need to hear this album. [READ MORE]