Reviews:: David Myles - Things Have Changed

David Myles has pretty much the same bio that so many singer-songwriters have these days. You know, he started out as a trumpet player, played in an 8 piece funk cover band, opened for the Rascalz as part of a beatbox duo, and then played trumpet in a blues band in China before buying a guitar and playing his first singer-songwriter gig in Hangzhou. I mean really, how many times have you heard that old chestnut? Oh right, never. Anyway, suffice to say, David Myles has an eclectic background, and that background pays dividends in the delightful variation found on his new album, Things Have Changed.

Myles' followup to his 2005 debut, Together And Alone, is his first release since moving to Halifax and he called on plenty of Haltown's most talented folks to give him a hand. The album was co-produced by Charles Austin (Joel Plaskett, Matt Mays, Buck 65), and features contributions from the likes of Jill Barber, Dale Murray (Cuff the Duke, Nathan Wiley), Matt Murphy (Flashing Lights, Superfriendz), and Gabe Minnikin (The Guthries). All this assistance doesn't go to waste, as Myles has created a musically diverse album that is far from the sparse sound usually associated with singer-songwriters. He gives the songs on this album what he calls a "full band" treatment with horns, pedal steel, mandolin, banjo, piano, Wurlitzer organ, guitar, upright bass and drums. As you can imagine, the fusion of all these elements results in an interesting album that happens to be an enjoyable listen from start to finish.

The album opens with the title track, and I have to say, the soulful vibe on this track was a pleasant surprise on my first listen. Organ, guitar, and some really nice horns (always a sucker for those horns) come together to create the perfect background for David's vocals, which have a soulful quality on this track that you wouldn't expect. Love Again features a nice mandolin riff that sounds like it could've been lifted from More Than Words, have to like that. Myles sounds alternately like James Taylor and Jack Johnson on this song, foreshadowing the various styles he uses on this album. Jill Barber assists him on this song, and the two make such a pleasing pair that you believe David will indeed win back his lost love the instant he plays this song. The drums and upright bass on Last Night provide a jazzy background for David's low-key tale of drinkers remorse.

As well as being Petra's favorite song (P heard David on the CBC and encouraged this review), When It Comes My Turn is, I believe, the most feel-good song I have ever heard about getting old and dying. The bouncy bluegrass sound created by the banjo and mandolin (both courtesy of Gabe Minnikin) is hard to resist, as are David's lyrics about managing to have some fun as you grow old. Honestly, if this one doesn't have you tapping along with a smile, your turn might've already come. Take A Bow is one of the sparser songs on the album, with David's voice taking centre stage, backed by some light drums, pedal steel, and some nice trumpet near the end. The uptempo drums and fast paced guitar/mandolin combo of Forget About The Past help pick up the pace again. The hopeful One Day closes the album with another assist from Jill Barber and some nice thoughts about how we should really treat each other.

Things Have Changed is a hard album not to like. Musically, David and his assembled guest players create a warm, diverse sound, while David's lyrics are thoughtful and engaging. Really, it's kind of shocking that the soulful, heartfelt vocals on the album come from a guy who looks kind of like Stephen Colbert. Unfortunately David lost out on the ECMA Rising Star award to the juggernaut that is In-Flight Safety, but I would be surprised if we don't hear more from him in the future. Do yourself a favour and check out David and Things Have Changed for yourself.

mp3:: When It Comes My Turn

mp3:: Things Have Changed

myspace:: David Myles


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