So one group that has been around for a long time that I’ve never gotten around to listening to, (wait there’s one – methinks there are more than one!) is Great Big Sea. I did however, pick up an early album of theirs at the street sale on Union Street in Burlington a while back. But when I got home, the CD fell behind a piece of furniture, and I set it aside and haven’t listen to it! I say this because if I had listened to it or ripped it, I would have recognized the name Alan Doyle, when I spotted his name on the Roots Music Report last week! As it was, I quickly listened to his new album Boy on Bridge, liked what I heard and put it on the iPod and boy am I glad I did, I love this album! I enjoy Doyle voice and the variety on the album from the hard-driving “I’ve Seen A Little” and “Testify” to the poignant “Northern Plains” with the songs like “Where the Nightingales Sin” and “Break It Slow” between, the album is one solid , musical treat!!
Alan has played with his Newfoundland friends Sean McCann, Bob Hallett, and Darrell Power as part of Great Big Sea for the last twenty years and the band has just released a 5 Cd box set of their music. Boy on Bridge is Alan’s first solo effort. From their website:
His first solo album represents the culmination of the musical journey he has been on since his days playing on the lanes and seashore of Petty Harbour. It has allowed him to explore the furthest reaches of his imagination and creativity, and while much of it began in his own basement studio, he ended up recording all over the world, as new ideas and friends came to the musical party and never left.
Alan has reached both into his past and future in search of new collaborators. Canadian stars like Colin James, Hawksley Workman and Jim Cuddy are joined by Nashville pros like Troy Verges and Kelly Archer, while long-time collaborator Gordie Sampson helped him write and record some of the albums finest material. Friends from the movie and TV world like Russell Crowe and Mike Post helped out as well, co-writing and recording with Alan.
Boy On Bridge gave Alan a chance to finally delve into his love of country music and more classic rock and roll sounds. Fresh from their success with artists like Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood, Sampson and Verges helped create the modern country of “I’ve Seen A Little”, while Nashville up-and-comer Ryan Tyndall co-wrote “My Day”. The blues shouter “Testify” was co-written by Russell Crowe, and then recorded with guitar hero Colin James in Vancouver. “Northern Plains” features two famous collaborators – written and produced by Hawksley Workman, it features the inimitable Jim Cuddy on background vocals. Alan went to Los Angeles to work with his friend Mike Post, the musical wizard behind the Law & Order theme and countless other soundtracks. Among other fine moments, these sessions produced the heartfelt “The Rules Will All Be Broken”. Complete Bio
So after listening to this album, I went and found the Great Big Sea album that I had picked up, which was their 1999 release Turn, and I liked that album, too! The album has several tracks written by Doyle and a few from Sean McCann mixed in with some traditional Canadian music! So check out Alan Doyle’s Boy on Bridge. As for me once again I have a lot of catching up to do, twenty years – 5 CDs worth!!
Here’s a great video for the song “Testify” which was co-written by Russell Crowe!