Award-winning and critically acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter David Myles might be an undercover musicologist. Within his eclectic artistic continuum, he’s reverentially explored jazz, blues, pop, holiday music, French pop, rockabilly, country, folk, gospel, and even hip-hop. The through line in his 12-album oeuvre has been strong songcraft—no matter what genre, David has never sacrificed substance for style.
After the painful blow of his father’s sudden passing, David struggled with the push and pull of being a successful musician while being a present and loving husband and father. His focus shifted from free-spirited musical travels to looking inward to the core of his own artistry. The resulting long player is the cozy acoustic, Leave Tonight, his most personal offering to date.
“I felt like I had to recommit to music and make this count. I wanted to find out who I was in my most natural musical habitat,” the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based artist shares. “I’ve made a lot of records that have been like David Myles doing this…. I wanted to make something that sounded like me.”
David has garnered awards and accolades back home, and, through tirelessly touring and critical acclaim, he is building a robust artist profile stateside. “Inner Ninja,” his cross-genre musical collaboration with the rapper Classified is the biggest-selling rap single in the history of Canadian music. He’s won countless awards in Canada, including multiple Music Nova Scotia Awards, and East Coast Music Awards, among many others. Former radio host of The East Coast Music Hour with David Myles, David now produces and hosts Myles From Home (CKUA) where he interviews special guests and plays his favorite music. In the fall of 2018, David released the children’s book Santa Never Brings Me a Banjo (Nimbus Publishing).
When David made the bold move to search his soul for Leave Tonight, what he discovered is that at his core he’s an unflinching romantic. The resulting collection conjures breezy 1960s West Coast jazz, 1970s Laurel Canyon folk, and the rich emotionality of 1950s crooners records. “For this album, I felt like I had to really go back to the fundamentals of why I started to write music in the first place. I wanted to make sincere and beautiful music—love songs that were authentic,” David details.
Leave Tonight exudes an easy charm that recalls João Gilberto, Chet Baker, and James Taylor. The title track oozes Roy Orbison’s majestic sense of melancholy replete with dreamy harmony vocals. On “For The First Time” David honors the compositional form of the American songbook with a standout love song. Here, his crooning vocals are perfectly enhanced by smoky female counter vocals performed by Toronto singer-songwriter Lydia Persaud. The track is both timeless and timely, and accessible and sophisticated, conjuring jazzy pop evergreens such as “Girl From Ipanema” and Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”
The tracks “Home” and “Kind Of Like It” highlight his band’s musical interplay and David’s ability to write authentically across genres. “Home” is a bluegrass-inspired tune that gives his longtime support musicians time to shine. “Kind Of Like It” is moody, understated roots rock that shows the guys in an unvarnished chill-groove setting that conjures J.J. Cale.
The album concludes with the ethereally haunting “Weight.” This track is an emotional centerpiece as it vulnerably explores David’s father’s passing, likening the aftermath of the loss to a weight bearing down on his shoulders. The song brims with viscerally emotive phrases like: There’s a pressure/On my shoulders/I’ve never felt/That I feel now/And I’m trying to find my way/I can’t hear your voice/But I know what you’d say. The musicians recorded the song live at the end of day, and David recalls: “When we finished tracking that song, we all went for a walk to regroup, and talked about things we never talked about before. It was like group therapy.”
The project was produced by James Bunton and features longtime touring and recording bandmates Kyle Cunjak (upright bass, electric bass) and Alan Jeffries (acoustic and electric guitars). The trio have been friends since high school and have worked together for over a decade. Rounding out the sessions was percussionist Joshua Van Tassel who has played on many of David’s previous records. Leave Tonight highlights the musicians’ intuitive musical reciprocity, and expertise at crafting memorable motifs and elegant support musicality to dynamically enrich David’s compositions.
Leave Tonight is a milestone entry for a musician who sees his artistry in the big picture. “I love the approach of Duke Ellington and Willie Nelson where the journey is not linear, and is full of surprises,” David shares. “I let my instincts guide me.”