Tuesday, October 11, 2022


Myles brought home a Juno Award last time out for his instrumental album That Tall Distance but returns this time with a (mostly) vocal set. As the title suggests, he's in a mellow mood, a new willingness to let it all there, he has said. That means the fears and anxieties many of us dwell on, loneliness and insecurities, depression, and even questions about spirituality and an afterlife. It's seemingly deeply personal at times, but universal all the same: "If I lost you, what would happen? /That is a question that I've been asking a lot these days," he sings in "If I Lost You."

That song features a duet with Breagh Isabel, vocals one of the great strengths of the collection. Myles, no vocal slouch himself, has a great ability to write harmony and backing singer parts. Also joining him is Rose Cousins, the two in tight harmony throughout a cover of the Kitty Wells 1955 country classic "Making Believe." He no doubt dug that up on one of his crate-digging vinyl shopping trips in the used bins. And the brilliant Halifax R'n'B/gospel singers Reeny and Mahalia Smith bolster three cuts, each quite different and equally inspiring. "Mystery" is a funky, late-night sultry groove, and somehow pedal steel fits perfectly in there as well. Take that same team, turn up the tempo, add horns and organ, and now they're on fire for "You Can't Hurt Me," a soul gem. 

Most arresting is the third number with the Smiths, "Walk With Me," where Myles goes to church, quite literally. It finds its main character searching for forgiveness, for relief from earthly troubles: "The world's like a desert, and I'm dying of thirst/I've been looking for a deeper well and I know I'm not the first/To call upon you Jesus but I find it so strange/I never thought I'd be the one calling you name." It feels a lot more sincere than any Contemporary Christian music I've heard in that genre. From faith to funk, Myles takes us on a deeply-thinking man's journey, introspective but still some of his most catchy tracks yet.

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