Tonder, Denmrk-Hamburg, Germany

It is 2:53 am.  I’m in the middle seat, back row of an eight passenger van, lodged between a drummer and a fiddler. If I crane my neck left and back or right and forward as we jet down the Danish Highway I can see through the space between a piano player and a guitar player on one side or a bass player on the other.  The broken white lines on the perfectly smooth pavement curve toward the headlights and zip beneath us.  Feels like a small plane on an unusually long runway.

Its an odd energy as it its not really an early rise, as none of us has slept yet.  Nor is it a post gig dash as we did not really play a show tonight.  I am not sure if I should be telling jokes and reviewing the evenings events as I would normally do in the van or bus after a concert, or try to keep my mouth shut and not bug people as I am sometimes disciplined enough to do in the early mornings. This is an odd travel day for sure.  Its is a day that will require me to have in my pocket Danish Kroners to start, then onto Euros for Germany, Pound Sterling for Heathrow and Canadian Dollars for Home.  This a strange day.  A strange and wonderful day.

I am heading home after what feels like a dream week on the road.  After the home run of a gig in London, I feel like we scored again at the Tonder Festival.  We Sold Out of all the Boy on Bridge CD’s and all the concerts and appearances went very well.  Amazing considering the options for fans to see this week.  I saw many of them myself. The Chieftains and their whole gang were as charming as ever.  So good to see all of them as lovely as they were when GBS supported their US Tour over a decade ago.  Bruce and Runrig were kind enough to ask me up to sing Beat the Drum, one of my fav tunes of theirs.  Likewise, Oysterband had me guest on When I’m Up, and I asked the boys up during my set for ‘Native Son’.   I did not get to see Steve Earle’s set, but heard it was his usual, great performance.  By far the most impressive thing I saw all weekend was The Lone Bellow.  Easily the freshest take on folk music I’ve heard in a while.  Not to mention what could be the best live singing trio I’ve ever heard.  Really fantastic.

The Tonder Festival is the best music Festival I’ve ever attended or played.  Everything is so well organized and thought out.  The stages are all the perfect height and the sound is always impeccable.  The backstage is literally a musician’s dream.  There is a dedicated bar just for the bands and their guests.  And if it ever closes, I’ve never seen it.  There are tables and benches indoors and out to accommodate chats and songs and tunes inside and out.  Theres always two or three different tables and areas with folks playing fiddle tunes over here and another crowd singing shanties over there and around the corner in a quieter spot a pass-the-guitar circle is in mid session with something heartfelt and true gently filling the air.  It is magical.

Pretty quiet now.  To my left Kris has his headphones in staring into the night sky while dissecting some song on his most awesome Itunes collection.  Kendel is asleep next to me on the other side with her head against the window and her fiddle propped up with her knees.  I cannot help but wonder how many kilometers she’s travelled in this exact position as she’s toured for well over half her young life.  Cory and Shehab both appear to be sleeping while Todd sits as calm and studious as ever, no doubt figuring out some hard thing in his ever moving brain.  Tour manager Andy is way up front there with our Danish driver.  I can’t see much of them from back here but I’d bet the farm that Andy is looking at the clock on his phone every ten minutes or so, as great tour managers are want to do.  Me, I honestly don’t know if I should be going to sleep or waking up.

Either way I’m very happy.  I am in a band and we just played Tonder Festival.  And it doesn’t get much better than that.

In 40 minutes or so we should be at Hamburg Airport.  From there I fly for an hour to Heathrow, and after negotiating the maze that is LHR I should board a direct flight to St. John’s just in time to help get ready for Grade Three.

Cheers,

Alan

Hamburg, Germany – Tonder, Denmark

Currently riding in the third row of a three-row spliter van on a 90 minute drive from Hamburg Airport to Tonder, Denmark.  Most of the AD Band jumped in the sister vehicle and are either just behind us or ahead, while myself and keyboard God, Todd Lumley are sharing this vehicle with John, a guitarist form North Carolina, Sara Lee Guthrie, and the two Ladies of Madison Violet.  Pretty cool to be doing this very European and International drive with musos from all over the place.  Makes me feel like I’m in the club.  Probably shouldn’t need such reminders and reassurances at this point, but I honestly mark and appreciate every time I get a moment like this.  Often its these surreal travel moments that confirm your place in the music biz more than a third encore at the Mainstage.

Just flew to Germany from London, England, where I played my first ever solo show overseas at the famous Borderline Club in Soho.  GBS played there a few times, but not since 2007, I think.  It was a thrill to see the room Sold Out as I feared our long absence from the UK music scene might have led people to forget about us, and me, I suppose.  But even on a Tuesday after a Bank Holiday weekend, people filled the room, some coming from as far away a Czechoslovakia and Australia for the gig.  They sang and danced with us and made me laugh and smile and even a bit weepy when they sang ‘Where I Belong’ louder than me for the finale.  To say it was a Milestone would be an understatement.  Thanks to ye all for the show and the after show at the 12 Bar.

The day before the gig was no slouch either as we all flew over night from North America and on the jet lag day I dragged Cory around London for his first ever tourist run through one of the greatest cities the world has ever known.  And I don’t think such a claim is unfair.  Consider this.  I clicked on my runners watch and  walked 2 k from our hotel to Hyde Park and jogged over to the Royal Albert Hall and then down through Marble Arch, and into Green Park.  We ran past Speakers Corner and the Canadian Monument and the Newfoundland Post and around the round about in front of Buckingham Palace.  We continued down the Mall and through the gates at Scotland Yard into Trafalgar Square just below Piccadilly Circus where we took a hard right and ran past West Minister Abbey, Big Ben, The Tower of London and onto Tower Bridge and South Embankment to the London Eye.  We paused for tourist photos and I looked at my runners watch.  It was still not at 10ks.  All of what I have just listed can be seen on a walk spanning less than 8 kilometers.  Truly astounding.  Any country in the world would be chuffed to have so many attractions.  One city, London, has all this.  In one very small section of town.

CT

We made our way back to the hotel and collected Tour Manager Andy and Bass God Shehab and went out for a evening look.  After a traditional pint in a very traditional English Pub, I suggested we find an Indian restaurant as London is famous for its Curries and the like.  I remembered a night out well over a decade ago when GBS had just gotten signed to a UK Label called Cooking Vinyl.  The President, Martin took us to a place called the Bombay Brasserie where we abused his corporate credit card drinking way too many Kingfishers.  Somewhere in the haze of the nights debauchery I recalled the food being incredible, so we sought out to find the place.  Sure enough, right across from the Gloucester Tube station, the Bombay Brasserie still stands.

In we went and had had the best Indian food I’ve ever had anywhere. (with humble apologies to India Gate in St John’s, which is awesome).  We rolled back to the hotel for perhaps one drink before bed.  Turns out the evening had more in store for us.  Near our Kensington Hotel, there was a Jamaican or West Indies kind of Carnival in Knotting Hill.  Many of the dance troupes from the festival, scantily clad in feathers and spandex were staying at our hotel.  They had the Lobby bar going pretty good.  Then the bands started showing up.  Including Shaggy.  Seriously.

Kendel joined us and it was fun to be a fly on the wall in that room.  Even had a chat with Shaggy about playing St. John’s.  Cory had opened for him with Crush.  Kendel and Shaggy even shared a bowl of chips, though I’m not certain he was wise to it.  I’ll let Kendel explain it some other time.

A few more gigs to round out the Summer schedule to come.  The Tonder festival and a gig in Spencerville Ontario are coming up. Most of September I’ll be finishing the new Alan Doyle CD.  Keep you posted on all that.

October and November will be mostly book stuff as ‘Where I Belong’ comes out October 14th.  A full slate of authorish kind of things will unroll soon.  Look out for me coming to a town near you promoting the book.

Also selling early bird tix for some of the shows coming up in January.

All the info will show up on the tour page.

Just rolling into Tonder.  When I came here first in the late ‘90’s with GBS I said this was the best Folk Festival in the World.  15 years later and I still think the same thing.

I am here.  I am a Lucky Bastard.  Tak.

Cheers,

Alan

AC Flight 695 YYT-YYZ

Summer is here again. A bit late, some may think. But Summer in Newfoundland is a bit of  a late sleeper.  Keeps you waiting in the lobby long past the call and drives many to huff and puff with impatience.  But when it finally arrives it is glorious.  Nothing like a sunny day for those who really appreciate the sight of it.  Summer for many means all the school rules of Fall, Winter and Spring, are quickly forgotten and the come what may of a hot summer day is the only thing on the calendar.  For me Summer means finally getting to play out doors.  We Canadian Musicians spend most of our time inside save for a few weeks in late June till mid September and for the most part we cherish the thought of it.

I had a blast playing in Fredericton a week or so ago.  A bit ashamed to say I almost forgot how beautiful it is in that town, especially down by the river.  Had some epic nights there with GBS over the years, including one hockey rink show at the Aiken Center when the power went out.  Not be deterred, me and about 4500 others sang Excursion Around the Bay completely accapella as the PA was rebooting.

Getting to play the best small outdoor venue in Canada this week at Jackson Triggs Winery.  This will be my third time playing there and could not be more chuffed to say it was the first concert of my summer calendar to sell out.  Thanks folks.  Also playing outside in Cornwall on Saturday night.  Had an awesome time there with GBS late 2014 and remember singing the National Anthem at a Swim Meet.  T’was fun.  All the info on the Cornwall gig here — http://www.lift-off.ca

Two inside gigs as well this week.  First off in the beautiful Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville Ontario. Played there a while back and had grand pints in the pub to follow.  I think there’s still a few dozen tix left for that show so spread the word and come on down yourself.  All the info here –  http://huntsvillefestival.on.ca/viewevent.html?200

Making my first ever trip to Meaford, Ontario on Thursday.  Any frequent readers of this blog know how excited I am about hitting a new place.  I understand the gig is all but Sold Out, but we may release a tic or two on the day.  Love to see you.  All the info is here – http://www.meafordhall.ca/index.cfm

For those seeing me and my band for the first time, you can expect to hear some of the tunes from my Boy on Bridge CD, a bunch of tunes from the GBS catalogue, some tunes I wrote for films like Robin Hood or TV like Republic of Doyle.  And some fun covers for the dancers as well.

So Grateful to have an amazing band of musos.  Ladies first, Kendel Carson will play fiddle and guitar and whatever she wants.  Cory Tetford will play guitar and kiss our faces. Shehab Illyas will play bass and take amazing photos of us when we are not looking.  Kris MacFarlane will play drums and that and do his best to try and keep me form speeding up.  Very happy to have Newfoundland Piano and Hammond Legend Paul Kinsman joining us this week as well.  Welcome aboard Paul.  The hazing will be minimal.

Currently in Fort Erie about to go record some more with the incredible Tawgs Salter.  I am a Lucky Bastard.

Happy Summer Everyone.

Cheers,

Alan

Pre-Order ‘Where I Belong’

Hey all,

Thanks so much for all the interest in my book Where I Belong. It’s a rowdy journey through the cod tongues, altars, girls and guitars of my young life in Petty Harbour. I’m gonna be signing a few and if you’d like one, you can pre order one right here. I had a blast writing it and really hope you all enjoy reading it, too.

Where I Belong

Cheers,
Alan

St. John’s Airport

Its early. Like, Fisherman Early. About three and a half hours ago, I watched the Habs force a Game 7 against the Bruins in the NHL Playoffs. With thoughts of Playoff glory and defeat battling for my dream time, I could not get much sleep. So I’m a bit bleary eyed at Gate 3 here at YYT as the Sun surely rises over the runway bringing what should be a lovely morning to the town I love so well.

Have only been home for about 30 hours as I was in Halifax for the previous weekend rehearsing with the AD Band as we get ready to take on a few Summer festivals and theatres. We jammed a few new AD songs and some old GBS songs. So cool to hear both of them imagined and reimagined at the able hands of Kendel, Cory, Todd, Shehab and Kris. We jammed Friday played a fun gig on Saturday night and I still found some late night time to wander in and out of some old haunts in Halifax. The Lower Deck remains a favourite visit of mine. Paul and the Wreckhouse boys had the place on wheels when I got there Friday night. Likewise Party Boots had the Seahorse going mad on Saturday. Hard to beat a weekend in Halifax.

The weekend was rounded out by a lovely afternoon writing with David Myles, a most excellent New Brunswick fella who could very well like writing and singing songs as much as me.

Just previous to that excursion, I had a one of the most satisfying musical experience sin my life as I got to sing and the amazing Gower Street United Church with an over 200 member choir. Debuted a new song, ‘A Little Light’ I wrote for the Dr. Jack Hand Legacy Foundataion. Dr. Jack was an amazing man who gave most of his young life to helping other people before losing a battle with Cancer. The Foundation continues his work and helps out families in the same fight. All the info on the cause is here. Check it out and support the cause if you can. Thanks.

www.jackhand.ca

All that has led me here to Gate 3 where I am taking on a day I could not have seen coming. I am sitting in my suit jacket awaiting a flight to Ottawa to give a presentation to a Parliamentary Committee at the nations highest offices. I am the Artist Representative on a granting agency for musicians called the Radio Starmaker Fund. The board is giving a report of affairs and have asked me to come and help explain how the fund helps Canadian Artists. I ironed my shirt and everything. Seriously.

Following the presentation I am getting a tour of the Canadian Parliamentary Buildings. I’ve really only seen them from the outside so I’m very grateful to Senator George Furey for showing me around the place. I might even get to Question Period. How very Canadian. Looking forward to it all.

Nipping down to Toronto tomorrow to write and record another tune for the next solo CD which is surely taking shape. I’d say I’ll spend tomorrow night in front of the TV hoping the Habs can seal the deal against the Bruins.

Fingers Crossed. Hoping I get to spend some of my Bday weekend watching the Habs in the next round. May 17th 1969 is my Bday. The math is ugly anyway you do it. This weekend I turn Half 90. Jaysus.

Lots of Summer dates up at www.alandoyle.ca/tour. Love to see you out at the gigs. Some are Sold Out already. Thanks so much.

The Airport is truly awake now and the sun creeps up over the coffee pots at the Jumping Bean station. It is no longer late last night. It is clearly early this morning.

Off we go.

Cheers,
Alan