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Steve Toase reviews David Miles at The Courthouse

Sometimes we need an antidote to all the cynicism in the world. On Tuesday night David Myles provided exactly that. Playing the Courthouse in Thirsk, as part of the On Tour programme, David was joined on stage by Alan Jeffries, two guitars and a full set of love songs. Yes, David Myles unashamedly plays love songs. Whether trying to persuade his (future) wife to marry him in Love Again, or singing of the beauty of Cape Breton in the song of the same name, David managed to voice emotion without falling back on sentimentality.
Throughout the evening from the (secular, non-denominational) gospel of New Friend, to the country tinged Need a Break, their passion for playing could be heard in every note.
David tapped into the rich musical culture of Canada’s Maritime Provinces with a beautiful cover of Gene MacLellan’s song Bidin’ My Time, made famous by Anne Murray. The Canadian East Coast has a special place in David’s songwriting, for example in Drive On Through, an energetic tribute to New Brunswick, or the laid back Way Too Long; a call to a distant home.
The evening was very much a two man performance. Alan Jeffries is former Bluegrass Guitarist of the Year, and an accomplished musician in his own right. He is also one of the fastest guitar players I’ve seen in a long time. Throughout the night his solos were energetic and note perfect, bringing a real vibrancy to the performance.
Tuesday showed why the On Tour programme is so important; bringing world class performers to rural venues. If David can be persuaded to brave the sheep (and peacocks) and tour North Yorkshire again, I would highly recommend catching him live.