By Keith Sharp
When April Wine lead vocalist and songwriter, Myles Goodwyn stepped on stage at Toronto’s Hughs Room Monday, November 4th to showcase his newly released Myles Goodwyn & Friends Of The Blues Vol 2 album, his primary concern was how he would be embraced by the city’s blues community. He had nothing to fear!
Supported by a first-rate backing band comprised of guitarist Warren Robert, keyboardist Ross Billard, drummer J.R Smith and bassist Bruce Dixon with cameo appearances by the likes of guitar whiz Jack De Keyzer, harpist Roly Platt and saxophonist Richard Thornton, Goodwyn won this discerning crowd over with a set comprised mainly of original material gleaned from his first two Friends Of The Blues releases.
“The blues community seems to have really embraced these projects,” enthused Goodwyn from his Halifax, Nova Scotia residence following only his fifth live appearance with his blues band. “I haven’t seen one bad review from either album and the players themselves seemed to have accepted me. I had no problems recruiting musicians for my two albums, key people like Jack deKeyzer, David Wilcox, Kenny `Blues Boss’ Wayne and Matt Anderson were happy to help out, I guess they knew who I was.”
Following the success of last year’s debut Friends Of The Blues album, which won an East Coast Music Award for Best Blues Album and also received a Juno nomination, Volume Two features 13 original compositions and one cover of Bobby Womack’s classic “All Over Now” which was also a hit record for The Rolling Stones.
The first Friends Of The Blues album was 11 years in the making, the second was virtually an immediate follow on and Goodwyn is already working on a third album which will be more conceptual in nature and is set for a Spring 2020 release, all appearing on Geoff Kulawick’s Linus Records label.
“I didn’t see a good reason to write another April Wine album, for me, as a writer, I have to be inspired, I’ve got to want to do it, and that’s what happened with these Blues albums,” Goodwyn explained. “I have a real passion for what I’m doing right now, so much so that Friends 3 is already in the works.”
Aware that many current Blues performers still feel the need to salute their roots with reworks of icon performers like Muddy Waters, B.B King, Bo Diddley, Otis Rush and Willie Dixon, Goodwyn eschews this concept for his own unique lyrics which he adapts to various blues stylings. By his own admission, he likes to write tongue in cheek lyrics like “I Hate To See You Go (But I Love To Watch You Walk Away) and “Tell Me Where I’ve Been (So I Don’t Go There Anymore) off of his first Blues album and Goodwyn’s latest release follows suit with such titles as “When Your Ship Came In (I Was At The Train Station Drinking)” and “Sick And Tired (Of Being Sick And Tired)”
“I love writing things with a bit of humour, songs like “Fish Tank Blues” with lines like “taking my seahorse for a ride” are just a lot of fun,” he assessed. “Or “I Saw Someone That Wasn’t There (And It Was You). Just fun stuff that I can adapt various blues styles to”
Even his duet with six times Maple Blues Music Award winner, Angel Forrest, “Being Good (Won’t Do Us Any Good Tonight)” has a definite tongue in cheek narrative. “It’s supposed to be a love song and didn’t even get together with her when we record it,” Goodwyn laughed. “I don’t think I’ve ever recorded a duet before but Angel was perfect for the song, I had heard lots of good things about her.”
Whether it’s adapting an authentic Fifties sound to his “Speedo Revisited” take on a 1955 originally recorded by The Cadillacs (as a tribute to his old friend, writer-produced Ralph Murphy who passed away last year) or even his “Even Cowboys Get The Blues” which is a salute to singing Cowboy performers like Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter and Audie Murphy (complete with a yodelling segment!) Goodwyn has created an authentic yet very stylish, personal recording which shows his vast writing creativity can be directed into various musical formats.
Goodwyn is still keeping his April Wine legacy intact but is scaling back the band’s live commitments to about 30 shows a year, mainly summer, festival events while hoping to execute a dozen or so blues festival engagements in 2020. “We’ve performed April Wine so long now, that things just naturally fall into place, but the blues band is much more of a challenge to me. It’s kinda like a new career for me, everyone is so good and so supportive, I wish I had done this a long time ago.”