Alan Doyle chalks up a lot of where is he right now—with both his third solo album and his second book released in October 2017—to luck. “I’m the luckiest guy I’ve ever even heard of,” he says. “This was all I ever wanted, a life in the music business, singing concerts. I was lucky to be born in the family I was, in Petty Harbour. I was lucky that Sean, Bob and Darrell found me and asked me to join their band. I was lucky the Canadian music fans were into it.”
And yet, one listen to A Week at The Warehouse makes it plainly clear that there’s a lot more than luck at play in this decades long, awards-studded career. This album, recorded live off the floor with Doyle’s “beautiful band,” as he calls them, with producer Bob Rock at the helm, is chock-a-block with country-tinged, radio ready tunes that bring with them the flavour of some of Doyle’s favourite artists, from John Mellencamp to Rock’s own band, Payolas (In fact, Doyle covers a Payolas tune on this album, Forever Light Will Shine, with that band’s singer, Paul Hyde appearing as a guest vocalist.)
In addition to Rock’s work with Payolas, Doyle loved the metal albums Rock produced in the eighties, and his more recent work with the Tragically Hip, Jann Arden, and others. “It’s a real treat to get to meet your heroes and they turn out to be nicer than you ever imagined,” Doyle says. “A couple things about Bob, he’s first of all, still a massive fan of a good song, for a man who’s seen hundreds and thousands of them, he’s still thrilled to get a chance to work on a good song with a good band in a good studio, that’s still a perfect day for him. And secondly he’s just a wonderful motivator to get great players to play at their best.”
That kind of ease and experience—plus the incredible talents of Doyle’s touring band—made recording A Week at The Warehouse a relative breeze. Of the band, Doyle says, “I am so by far the worst person. I wish I was being modest. They’re an incredible band to sing with every night. I look around the stage and I can’t believe my luck.”
Doyle’s desire was to have an album that sounded and felt like the live show, and A Week at The Warehouse does just that. Lead single Summer, Summer Night is a co-write with long time collaborator Thomas “Tawgs” Salter. Doyle had it in mind to write a Celtic country song about summer nights in Petty Harbour when he was a young adult, playing guitar and singing with his friends around a bonfire on the beach—and teaching his friend Jimmy to play “one song, he figured he could get that one girl to go out with him. I showed him how to play Dirty Old Town and if memory serves correctly it was very successful. It’s a fun song about letting yourself go the way you could when you were that age.”
Then there’s the ukulele and whistling ditty Beautiful to Me, also co-written with Tawgs Salter. This one, Doyle says, is a response to an attempt in North Carolina to limit the access trans people have to bathrooms in schools. “I was drawn to write a song that told people on the outside that they were certainly welcome in my place,” Doyle says. “If you’ve got love in your heart, that’s all that matters to me. It’s such a simple little song. It’s gentle. I just want everyone to know that if you feel like you’re on the outside, you’re not on the outside in this group—my arms and doors are open wide.”
In effort to balance the sound of album with something more rooted in Doyle’s own history, he dug out an older tune, one he’d written for the Robin Hood film in 2010. Doyle remembered the film had used the chorus and parts of two different verses of Bully Boys, but he couldn’t remember which. So he took to YouTube, hoping to find the scene. “I found dozens if not hundreds of versions of that song, from Spain, Croatia, China, the UK,” he says, astonished. “People have written their own verses in the old traditional way, it has made its way around the world as a sea shanty. It’s the old way of spreading a folk song, but using the Internet.” Doyle knew he had to finally record the song himself.
And there’s more of Doyle’s history in Somewhere in a Song, a tribute to his parents, who “made us feel like we could handle anything life gave to us,” Doyle says, adding he didn’t realize till he was an adult that his family had been poor. The song’s opening line is one Doyle heard his father say, when someone asked how the elder Doyles had gotten together. “My father said, ‘that’s simple I suppose, she could play and I could sing.’ It’s a simple homage, a celebration of my mom and dad’s attitude that you spend exactly none of your time worrying about the stuff you don’t have and exactly all your time making the most of what you do have.”
It’s an ethos Doyle has adopted whole-heartedly.
“I still think of myself as a person that has one job, a guy who plays in a band for a living, that’s me. If someone asks me to write songs, I guess I’m a songwriter too. If someone asks me to produce a record for them, then I guess I’m a record producer too. I never looked for an acting job in my life—they come to me. Someone calls who needs a hairy, Irish-looking fellow to bully someone or play the lute, come throw rocks at Colin Farrell, okay, sounds fun. It’s a laugh. Books came to me the same way, Random House said, we’ve been reading your blog, why not write a book, so I thought okay!” There’s more to it than all of that, for certain, but Doyle parries it off, in his usual way. “I’m grateful to do all of it. It’s a wonderful life and I’m very lucky to have it.”
The roots that grew Canada’s Queen of Rock, Sass Jordan, started in Europe and edged across the pond to the veins of metal pulsing in the musical metallurgy of Montreal in the 70’s. Montreal’s burgeoning ’70’s scene included a ‘no holds barred’ approach to glam, punk, blues, prog, metal, country, jazz, folk, with the added attraction of a homegrown sound created by the Quebecois artists of the decade, unique to the landscape and pertinent to the denizens of the period. There was no better musical place to be in the ’70’s - and this was the backdrop that nurtured one of the pioneers of female fronted rock - Sass Jordan. There are very few female singers out there that are used as a ‘genre’ to describe a sound, but Sass is one of them.
In the years since these auspicious beginnings, Sass has found herself working with and in the company of many of the people that inspired her to do what she does, amongst them the incomparable Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Steve Miller Band, Van Halen, The Foo Fighters, Cheap Trick, Santana, Joe Cocker, Styx, Rodger Hodgson, April Wine, Jeff Healy, and countless others. She has won various awards, including Juno and Billboard, and has sold over a million records worldwide.
Sass was a feature actor in the episodic TV show “Sisters”, and from 2003 to 2008 starred as one of the four judges on the hugely popular television series, Canadian Idol. She starred in the Off-Broadway production of "Love, Janis", and the Winnipeg and Toronto productions of 'The Vagina Monologues’. Her songs and performances have been featured on numerous television shows, including the iconic 90’s ‘Baywatch’ and ‘Knight Rider’, The Dennis Miller Show, and SyFy’s ‘Defiance’.
Sass’s latest release, ‘Racine Revisited’, was released on Sept. 15th 2017 and was a re-imagined recording of updated versions of each song from her 1992 breakout major-label masterpiece, ‘Racine’.
From the rocky shores of Musgrave Harbour to the oil sands of Fort McMurray, Shanneyganock are the last of Newfoundland and Labrador’s troubadours, a born and bred band that bleed pink, white, and green, and one whose name brings with it the promise of good times.
With 15 albums over the course of a respected 23 year career, the duo of Chris Andrews and Mark Hiscock have produced some of Newfoundland’s finest trad classics.
Recent cuts that are bound to go down as kitchen party and dance hall staples like “Rockin’ On The Water” and “Home Boys Home” flesh out a lengthy discography that rivals (and often, bests) their contemporaries. You’ve never heard “The Islander” or “Whiskey in the Jar” until you’ve heard it sung in the sharp yet soulful stylings of Andrews, backed by accordion virtuoso Hiscock – Newfoundland’s unsung dynamic duo.
The bands' latest studio effort Home In My Harbour, is part homage to the ties that bind, part lament for those we miss, and entirely a celebration on life, love and friendship.
“Home, it’s just that feeling of home,” Andrews said of Shanneyganock’s latest. “Look at all the wonderful things we have; family, friends, harbours and coves, and home. This album’s whole concept was to do something that reminded you of home.”
From the tug-the-heartstrings title track that bursts with homegrown pride, to the riotous “Thirty Days in Jail”, and the can’t miss cover of Simani’s trad classic “Music & Friends” (with a guest appearance from the iconic Bud Davidge no less), Home In My Harbour is proof positive that time does not diminish creative outport, nor does it strip passion for place.
And while two decades in the music business may have come with its ebb and flow, brotherhood remains for Shanneyganock, one forged through blood, sweat and the clocking of miles between late-night sets and early-hour rehearsals.
“I really think this is something me and Mark will do until we can’t,” says Andrews. "We’ll never say this band is over.”
As Andrews so poignantly has said, ‘there’s no great aspirations, only inspirations.’ And so should be the mantra of a group that has never rested on laurels, never left one solitary stone unturned.
Shanneyganock are a band that have inspired a generation of fans, comrades and colleagues, one that has moved an entire culture of people, and whose music, much like the men themselves, have ripened – not wilted – over time.
Mitchell was born on the wild northern coast of Newfoundland, surrounded by the raging waters and rugged setting. At a young age, he developed a love for music and songwriting as a way to express the tension between the beauty surrounding him, and the battles throughout the journey of life.
In 2015, Mitchell felt the time was right to record his first album. Give Me a Sign was recorded at Sevenview Studios, and the album spawned a video for the single “Never Gonna Say”. The song, written about suicide, achieved well over 100k views on Facebook early in its release.
The album also garnered attention in Europe and landed Mitchell a distribution deal in Sweden & Japan with Lion’s Pride music Group. While the momentum has been building in these new markets, it gave Mitchell time to work on new music & record two new singles, “This is Your Last Chance”, and “ How Do We Know”. He also took his live show to new heights by assembling some of the best local musicians to form his live band. The band consists of Mitchell Hunt (Vocals/Guitars), Tommy Basha (Guitars), Scott Sheppard (Bass) and Jim Solo (Drums).
Mitchell is currently promoting his latest releases, playing live shows, festivals and various gigs, while writing and recording new music to be released in 2018. Visit www.mitchellhunt.net.
Citadel House recording artist and music educator, Adam Baxter, is a powerhouse of energetic and charismatic creativity. With subtle aggressiveness of a Rock and Roller and sensibilities of a Folk musician, Adam’s music stretches across multiple genres to provide and compulsive mix of high energy and moments of thoughtful sensitivity. His songs will leave you infectiously humming his melodic hooks for days.
Based out of Campbellton, Newfoundland, Baxter is moving in his scope of influence and shaping lives around him. He is a three-time MusicNL Music Educator of the Year award winner and poised to release his new album “Domestic” in the summer of 2018. The release of Domestic is a healthy follow up to the success of his last two albums Clean Hands (2016) and Different But Polite (2017). For more info, please visit http://www.adambaxtermusic.ca