Last spring, when I was living in New York, my aunt came to visit. Though she had never been to the city before her first order of business was not visiting Times Square, Central Park or the Brooklyn Bridge. It was, instead, showing me the video for Nova Scotia singer-songwriter David Myles' "Simple Pleasures."
The ultimate feel-good tune about shunning extravagant desires and appreciating what you've got is illustrated by stop-motion photography of Myles lounging lakeside in a fedora and goofy grin. "I don't need a fancy car," he sings. "I'll take my bike around town, I'll take a cab to the bar."
Infectious, filled with jubilant horns and remixed by Canadian hip hop artist Classified, the upbeat track sums up the charm that instantly hooks enthusiastic fans like my aunt. "I'm not the most laidback guy, but at the same time, I'm a happy guy," Myles says over the phone from Surrey, just one stop on an extensive tour crisscrossing B.C. "I do want to reflect that in my music. I write a lot of love songs. This was less about a love song and more about feelings, a way of looking at the world."
Granted, Myles currently has a pile of things to be happy about. He recently picked up Male Recording of the Year at the Music Nova Scotia awards, earned a folk/roots music nod from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), and pulled off a successful and incredibly jam-packed Canadian tour — all while adjusting to fatherhood.
His four-month-old baby, Maria, (who is penning her own tour blog — with help from mom) and his wife both tagged along for his trek across Canada, which ends with his gig in Whistler on Nov. 24.
"It put a direct full-stop on too much late-night activity," Myles says of the family adventure. "Everything's based on getting to the next show, making sure the baby is OK, taking naps at the right time. I feel like the shows have gone really well. I've just been focusing on the shows."
Though he's been performing tracks off his 2011 record, Into the Sun, a lovely collection of heartfelt songs that showcase his Brazilian and African music influences, he's also been testing out new material he plans to record before Christmas and into 2013. Collaborating with everyone from the aforementioned Classified to opera singer Measha Bruegergosman, Myles says he shuns the idea of genre and, instead, follows his musical instincts.
"I don't think about (genre) too much," he says. "Whenever you meet someone new they say, 'What kind of music do you play?' I never know what to say. For me, it's not really about genres, it's about songs. I don't like to be limited. That's what informs the songs. I think if I was limited to one thing I wouldn't be as interested in it."
In the spirit of keeping things interesting, Myles is flying to Toronto before his Whistler show to don a ninja suit for a cameo appearance in a video for Classified's "Inner Ninja," a single to which he lends vocals. "I don't know what I'm doing," he says. "All I know is there's a ninja element and I'm a ninja. This song is very dear to my heart. Again, it's about being open and willing to take risks. That was a risk I was really excited to take, to make this song. Luke (Boyd, Classified) just completely took it to another level. It's really, really fun."