Touring with Alan Doyle
I remember the first time meeting Alan Doyle, through mutual friends of ours at the Duke of Duckworth in St. John’s. He was such a celebrity to me that I LITERALLY couldn’t look him in the face. I couldn’t believe I was meeting him. We’d listen to Great Big Sea albums on family trips growing up, so his voice is firmly planted in so many amazing memories of mine. But what is really special to me is that as a person, Alan has been so giving to Andrew and I – from advice and support to writing and recording with us. It’s true that it’s called the music industry but it’s clear as day that it’s so much more to him than just business. And he’s given us so much strength to keep pursuing what we’re doing.
Alan has been such an important part of Newfoundland’s cultural landscape for so long that it feels as though he’s always been here. His music, and the music of Great Big Sea, has been our soundtrack growing up in this province.
It’s a surreal feeling to go from fan to peer to friend with someone who has unknowingly played such a role in shaping your creative taste and cultural awareness. Great Big Sea were instrumental in paving the way for the musicians that followed them. They gave us the courage to bring the diverse music of Newfoundland and Labrador to a national and international stage with confidence and conviction. They turned the nation’s attention to the east coast and showed that world class music and art was being made in the coves and harbours of Newfoundland. Bands like Hey Rosetta!, The Once, Amelia Curran and so many more have followed in GBS’s footsteps, proudly sharing their own spin on the heritage of our province.
We were very lucky indeed to co-write with Alan for our new album. It has been a fantastic learning experience, and made it clear to us how important mentorship is. Alan’s generosity of time and energy spent with us has really been a driving force behind our recent efforts. The boisterous, affable and giving person you see on stage at his shows is the same person who willingly gives so much to other artists coming up behind him. Alan looms large in the Fortunate Ones narrative – co-writing, recording our demos, lending advice, sharing knowledge and experience freely without any expectation of return. He is an example of kindness and selflessness that we try to emulate in our own lives.
To be able to share stages across Canada and the US with such a great friend and mentor feels like a dream. We’re playing some stunning venues and watch sidestage, with joy, night after night, the all-or-nothing performances that have become Alan’ calling card – a true honour.