By Keith Sharp
As April Wine lead vocalist, Myles Goodwyn lay in his Montreal hospital bed in 2008, acutely aware that he had narrowly avoided dying from alcohol abuse, he became cognoscente of just how short life is and began to ponder objectives he still felt he needed to attain. One such goal was the recording of an authentic Blues album.
“I guess this objective was on my bucket list, but I have always wanted to record a blues album,” explained Goodwyn, celebrating the release of `Myles Goodwyn And Friends Of The Blues’ ( Linus Entertainment) by taking his annual winter vacation in the Dominican Republic.
But rather just bang out a bunch of clichéd lyrics, Goodwyn took his time, crafting songs and enticing top blues players to contribute to the recordings. “It’s taken me 10 years to complete this record, I wrote my final song last year, but I realized that blues music is timeless, it’s not a trendy thing, If I did take three or four years off, it didn’t matter.”
Over the course of the past decade, Goodwyn cultivated instrumental contributions from the cream of North American blues musicians, recruiting the likes of Kenny (Blues Boss) Wayne , Rick Derringer, Amos Garrett, Sonja Ball, Bill Stevenson and Steve Segal as well as top Canadian players like David Wilcox, Jack DeKeizer, Frank Marino, Shawn Verreault (Wide Mouth Mason) and Garrett Mason
“I was luck to be able to reach out to these people and almost everybody I asked was available and willing to do it,” enthused Goodwyn. “The payback to me was that everybody liked the songs.”
“I knew I could sing the blues but I wanted to recruit the absolute best players to perform on the album,” Goodwyn continued. “Sometimes I would have to wait for the right inspiration or wait for someone specific to contribute and open up their schedule to become `A Friend of The Blues’.
The end result is 12 tracks (one cover – Jessie Winchster’s “Isn’t That So”) that reflect Goodwyn’s commitment to recording an authentic Blues album filled with humourous lyrical titles like “I Hate To See You Go (But I Love To Watch You Walk Away”, “I’ll Hate You Till Death Do Us Part” and “Tell Me Where I’ve Been So I Don’t Go There Anymore”.
“There’s a lot of dark humour in the Blues,” allowed Goodwyn. “I had a lot of fun with it because it is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. That humour is reflected in the `Barbie Doll’ video for the album’s debut single, “I Hate To See You Go (But I Love To Watch You Walk Away) in which he puts marionette puppets and Barbie Dolls to effective use in this obvious cut-rate but entertaining video clip.
Within the context of this record, Goodwyn covers classic 50’s blues rock like the Fats Domino inspired “Tell Me Where I’ve Been (So I Don’t Go There Again”), the Hammond organ-spiced “I Ain’t Gonna Bath In The Kitchen No More”, the East Coast Blues flavoured “Good Man In A Bad Place” which is a tribute to the late Dutch Mason and the rock r&b arrangement to “Last Time I’ll Ever Sing The Blues”.
“When you get a chance to make a first impression and you have waited all of your life to create a record like this, then you just have to do it right,” Goodwyn explained. “I wanted to make everything count.”
Goodwyn is aware that he’s not exactly a card-carrying member of the Canadian blues fraternity but he claims he comes by his influences honestly. “Maybe I wasn’t picking cotton but I experienced some very hard times growing up. We didn’t have any running water in our house, I was without a mother, all of my toys were second hand, I had to fight for everything I have, I almost died once, I have been down that road but I’m still here.”
In between touring with April Wine and writing his autobiography, `Just Between You And Me”, which details his early struggles and his emergence as a Canadian rock icon, Goodwyn has shown his flexibility, performing an acoustic set, penning a second book, a novel titled “Elvis And The Tiger” (to be published later this year) and recording so many blues songs, he’s almost completed Vol 2 of his Myles Goodwyn And Friends of The Blues series. Some of those poverty experiences are reflected in songs like “I’m not Gonna Bath In The Kitchen Anymore”, which reflects on the Goodwyn family’s lack of a bathtub and “Brand New Cardboard Belt” which commented on the practice of local retailers selling new trousers with cardboard belts which fell apart once they got wet.
“The trick was to have a consistent group of players in my Montreal studio and have key players contribute to individual tracks,” allowed Goodwyn. “It was difficult to make all these influences work on the same record, the last thing I wanted was for the record to sound like it was all over the place, 12 sounds, 12 styles.” That “house band” consisted of Mike Carrol, Blair Mckay, Richard Fallus, Alex Fraser, Russal Jackson and Bruce Dixon.
Although still committed to playing 20 to 25 concert dates with April Wine in 2018, Goodwyn is also looking forward to performing at least 12 concerts with a newly-formed blues band as well as continuing his acoustic touring activities. The guys in April Wine are up for recording a new album but that is on the backburner until 2019.”