Monday, May 25, 2020


"Surviving is easy, but living is hard," Ken Yates tells us on his new set, Quiet Talkers. We get through, day to day, but being happy with life is a whole different story for most of us. A self-professed Quiet Talker and full-time observer, Yates lets us in on his own thoughts of how to navigate the journey, with lots of stops to battle the internal demons and external demands.

Produced by the nimble Jim Bryson, at times Yates' voice is as soft, sad and soothing as vintage Paul Simon, and loaded with lines just as powerful. "It's the middle of the night, but you're easy to talk to when you're wasted," he sings in the title cut, desperate to feel connected and not lonely. "When We Came Home" is about that trip back to the birthplace you've left and swore you'd never return, "where the streets flow through my memory like some kind of disease."
There's "Disillusion Day," where "We've been watching the TV, wondering who to trust. They make us believe there's somebody fighting for us."

So yeah, Yates is singing what we're all thinking, and perhaps has tapped into this monumental blah we've been feeling, even before Covid days. Luckily he has a voice filled with empathy, so when he sings "I'll keep you safe from yourself," even though its to a troubled partner, we can feel like he's got our backs too.

Friday, May 8, 2020


Love songs, strong memories and moody reflections fill Myles' latest, which features some of most expressive singing and concise writing. There's a bit of his usual, impressive musical playfulness, with songs that touch on bluegrass, small combo jazz and '50's country, but the core of the 10-track album looks inward with balladry. Subtle strings adorn several cuts, with Myles' usual cohorts Kyle Cunjak on acoustic and electric bass and guitar whiz Alan Jeffries augmented by percussion pal Joshua Van Tassel.

The production is centered around Myles' voice, smoother and more emotive than ever, and he sounds confident and committed in pure love songs such as "Loving You Comes Naturally." A cocktail hour duet with Toronto's Lydia Persaud on "For The First Time" is both sweet and smouldering, and the catchy, plucky "Kind Of Like It" sees Myles and Jeffries try out a J.J. Cale-styled swamp rocker. With all these elements at play, and Myles sounding so connected to the material, this feels like a new peak for him.