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David Myles and his band to perform in Bangor

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David Myles and his band to perform in Bangor (photo courtesy of Mat Dunlap)

Earlier this year, The Maine Edge featured a cover story about Juno Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician David Myles, bearing the headline: ‘He’s Hot. He’s Sexy. He’s Canadian.’

My variation on the title of an infamous late ‘70s Rolling Stone cover story about Doors lead singer Jim Morrison was designed to be an attention grabber. I had hoped that readers unfamiliar with Myles and his music would be intrigued enough to check out his latest release - “Real Love” – one of the most impressive records I’ve heard by any artist this year. And based on the volume of related comments and messages subsequently received from Maine Edge readers, you were and you did.

“I can tell you that title was a big hit north of the border too,” Myles told me with a laugh during a phone interview.

Relaxing at his home in Halifax during a brief break in a very busy international tour, Myles and his band are looking ahead to their first-ever concert in Bangor, scheduled for Saturday, August 11, in the ballroom of the Bangor Arts Exchange, 193 Exchange St.

Myles’s trio includes guitarist Alan Jeffries and stand-up bassist Kyle Cunjak. The musicians still have dozens of dates on the itinerary for this year, including shows in Rumford, Ridgefield, CT., three appearances at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and concerts from Calgary to California.

“This tour has been really exciting. We’ve had some very fun shows,” said Myles.

“Real Love” reveals Myles’s passion for American roots music. It’s a stunning record of original songs that showcase his deft versatility in an array of musical settings, including old-school country, rockabilly, early rock ‘n roll and torch-noir balladry.

“The album has really opened up the live show for us, which was my goal,” Myles said. “It’s kind of like my car suddenly got a new gear. Now I have a fifth speed which is a little more rockin’ and we’re able to do big shows with it. We just did two sets at the Montreal Jazz Festival in front of 12,000 people. We have what it takes to keep people rocking and get them moving and we can still break it down and do our acoustic stuff.”

A longtime fan of the state of Maine, Myles says that he’s pumped for his first Bangor show. “I’ve been to Bangor so many times in my life as a kid, it’s going to be great to finally play a show there,” he added.

Myles grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick - roughly 90 minutes from the border between Houlton and Woodstock.

Summertime for Myles meant loading up the big Oldsmobile Delta 88 and hitting the road with his parents and three older brothers. The Myles family would always stop in Bangor en route to Biddeford Pool, one of Maine’s most beautiful beaches.

A visit to the Bangor Mall was a must, Myles says, and in the summer of 1989, a then-eight-year-old David Myles had an experience there that is permanently etched in his mind.

“I remember it was very busy at the mall that day,” he said. “Somehow, I became separated from my family. It’s the only time I’ve ever been totally lost and it was very scary. Stephen King happened to be there signing books that day so you can imagine how many people were there. Knowing he was there just added to the fear factor of being lost. My parents had to call security because they didn’t know where I was. I was oblivious. I was probably just a distracted kid but I’ll never forget that moment of being lost in the Bangor Mall. That almost sounds like a song.”

Following the completion of the multi-genre “Real Love” a year ago, Myles barely took a breath before making an even bolder move – writing and recording his first album in French. “Le grand départ,” Myles’s 12th record since 2005, is scheduled for release on September 14.

“It was a very big and exciting step but also a high-risk proposition,” said Myles. “French is not my first language. Plus, I was writing with other people in a way that I don’t usually write. I’m really proud of the project and I can’t wait for people to hear it. It’s always been my goal to be the kind of entertainer who can travel anywhere and make it work - to have enough material and be a good enough entertainer to pull people in. It’s like another gear or another facet to the show. My favorite entertainers are like Willie Nelson. He can play anywhere at any time and he’ll get people onboard.”

Non-francophones in the audience in Bangor on August 11 need not worry, according to Myles. The setlist will be populated with songs from throughout his career, right up to “Real Love.”

“I enjoy being the kind of entertainer that can kind of get dropped anywhere and do the job,” he said with a laugh.

(Tickets for David Myles in concert at Bangor Arts Exchange on August 11 at 7:00 p.m. are $10 in advance/$15 day of show and are available under the tour tab at www.DavidMyles.com.)

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