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Here in my favourite early Saturday perch at the head of Placentia Bay while the Fairest One of All enjoys a much-deserved sleep in and the Prince assembles a Lego creature as fearsome as the morning is peaceful. A lull in the Daddying and Husbanding allows a moment to note what has recently past and what is quickly to come.

The three main legs of the North American SO LET’S GO tour are behind us and I could not be more thrilled with the reception me and The Beautiful Gypsies were given. Way too many highlights to mention them all but I am compelled to tell you that the finale captured by Joel Stewart and his gang at CMT should make for a very cool TV.

Looking forward to a few things that lie ahead. The biggest news of recent weeks is the announcement of the Barenaked Ladies Tour coming in October. Me and the Gypsies will be the support band for the whole deal. I have been a BNL fan since, well, since the very beginning. When Sean and Bob and Darrell and I went into Dermot Oreilly’s basement studio in the spring of 1993, we brought a few tapes with us for inspiration and guidance. They contained music that we figured was close to if not exactly in the spirit of what we hoped to make. Cassettes by bands that would demonstrate to us that maybe, just, maybe if we did it as good as them we might make a go of this music biz. This was the leader of the pack.

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I pulled this pic off the net, but I own at least three copies of this cassette back in St. John’s. I was literally an inspiration to us, and the success of BNL with an acoustic brand of very popular music served as a bar for us to jump for. I am thrilled to be on the road with Ed, Jim, Kev, and Ty in the Fall. The tour went on sale a couple of weeks ago and many gigs are approaching sellouts already. I’d love to see you at the gigs. Come early. I’ll be up there at 8 pm sharp.

All the dates and info are here.

Also very excited for you all to see the new Shehab Illyas video for ‘The Night Loves Us’. Many of you will recognize Shehab as the stoic bass player in the Beautiful Gypsies. A man of many extensive talents, Shehab is an incredibly gifted filmmaker who happens to sleep a few bunks back from me on the bus. Again, who’s luckier than me. Two versions of the video are up here, one for Canada and one for International. Check it out. The video is already added to a few video stations and in heavy rotation on at least one. Well done, Shehab.

On the book front, I’ve started recording the audio book. Should be fun to bring the pages to life, or at least to voice, anyway. It will probably take a week or so to get it all. Much sympathy for my long suffering Engineer friend Mark, who’s going to have to sit with me for days on end as I stumble through dialogue, mispronunciations, coughs, and ever failing attempts to stay still. Good Luck with all that.

Really excited about the summer dates for me and the Beautiful Gypsies as the SO LET’S GO Tour rolls along. So far there’s gigs in Germany, America, and home in Canada, and there may be another one or two to come. Check out the tour page for all the details and come on down if you find yourself close to a gig.

I’d like to take this chance to thank the folks on the Beautiful Gypsy Bus who’ve accompanied me for almost 12 weeks on the road already this calendar year. They are both pro’s at their gig and incredible folks to hang with.

Andy Robicheau has been my or GBS’s tour manager for the best part of a decade and remains the brains of the operation on the road. Can’t tell you how often one of us aboard the bus calls his name in the run of a day. He answers the call every time.

Mark Vreeken could very well be the best live audio engineer in the world. I’m serious. He tours with us while getting calls from Prince. I’m serious. On top of that he is incredibly patient and giving of his extensive know-how with the amateur audio recording novices like myself when we pester him daily with problems that he solved for himself over a decade ago.

Freddy Skogheim is the most unexpectedly delightful addition to the crew in a long time. Many of you will recognize Freddy as the fella selling shirts and hats and all that. He is incredibly efficient and organized. Especially for a crazy person. And I say that with as much love as I can muster. Easily one of the most gracious and interesting people I’ve ever met, Freddy is the King of bus morale. You miss him five minutes after the tour is over.

Kris MacFarlane has had the most unenviable job of trying to keep me from going too fast for over a decade. Somehow, he sticks with it. Not sure how I’d do it without him, now as his kick and snare are the heartbeat of the band. On top of that, he knows all the chords on guitar, piano, accordion, and bass, and cans sing anyone’s vocal part when their voice is tired (including mine). He also shares my Habs obsession, which makes the long nights shorter, somehow.

Shehab Illyas, as noted above, is wicked at five or six things in the arts. And still a gentle and humble soul. If I was as good at as many things as Shehab, I’d definitely be a total dick.

Todd Lumley is simply a genius. A wicked pianist who became a wicked accordion player in just a few weeks because that’s what the gig asked of him. I am envious of his musicianship almost as much as his calm zen-like philosophy and demeanor, which an emotional reactionary like me is very much in need of.

Cory Tetford was one of the most gifted singers and guitar players I’d ever stumbled upon when I first stumbled upon him (literally) in a club in Clarenville in the very early 90’s. I’ve followed his every step since then honestly think he gets better every hour. I can’t wait for his next solo CD. It is going to be amazing. He very kindly waits for me on our runs on the road, even though I know it must be incredibly boring for him to fast walk at his resting heart rate while I stumble behind him gasping for breath in a near state of constant cardiac arrest.

Kendel Carson, the Lady of the House, is as awesome in person as she is impressive and beautiful on stage. If you can believe it, and I wouldn’t blame you if you can’t, she’s every bit a pleasure to travel, eat, drink, and talk with as she is to make music with. I know I speak for the rest of the dudes when I tell you I regularly look across the stage to her and honestly can’t believe my luck.

I hoped to get together with the people mentioned above and make a really good touring band. Knowing how great they all are as professionals, I honestly figured we could do it. But I could never have imagined how quickly the folks above have become an incredible new touring family for an old dog like myself.

My brother Bernie, who is much smarter than me, joined us for a few days on the West Coast swing and met most of the new gang for the first time. He had this or something just like it to say,

‘What a cast, Al. What a cast. You’d be some lucky to get a bunk on this bus’

And he is right.

Looking forward to the next run with The Beautiful Gypsies. Hope to see you out there, too.

Cheers,
Alan

Q&A, Barenaked Ladies tour

Hey all, just letting you know that I’ll be fielding questions on Facebook & Twitter as special Q&A events in the coming weeks. I’ve enjoyed hosting these at impromptu times in airports, cafes, etc., but this time I’m dedicating a solid hour to it, right in the midst of the So Let’s Go tour.

Facebook Q&A
Tuesday, April 28th @ 6pm ET
Visit my Facebook Page and comment on the Q&A post to participate.

Twitter Q&A
Tuesday, May 5th @ 6pm ET
Follow and tweet @alanthomasdoyle with the hashtag #SoLetsGo to participate.

Also, this just in — me & the band join Barenaked Ladies on a Canadian tour this Fall, in support of their new album. Tickets go on sale Saturday, but you can have a look to see if we’re playing near you here.

In The Sun

I am in the last few deep breaths of a sunny vacation with the Fairest One of All, The Prince and a few awesome friends and their very awesome kids. I even got a far to rare hang with my little Sister Michelle as she has taken up residence and singing up a storm for people far from the winter. Feeling very grateful for this time away from the madness, but rested and eager to get back on the road with The Beautiful Gypsies.

A quick note about the last tour. Thanks to all for braving the snow in Denver, and coming out in Durango. Special thanks for the Sold Out show in Phoenix. What a laugh in LA with Russell, Scott , Sam and Carl and the Indoor Garden Party gang joining in the fun. Got to hear some of the tunes from a Crowe/Doyle CD that we recorded in Aus and LA last year. Grand songs. Looks like you’ll get to hear them later this year. So cool to play in Oakland and Napa for the first time. Sold out shows in Seattle, Vancouver, and Chilliwack rolled us up North. Calgary was a blast and Edmonton was ‘Band Friday’ or ‘Crew Years Eve’ (when the touring party has the next day off) so we rolled to the Black Dog after the show and had my 6 millionth great night in that pub. What a spot. We had a bonus day in Saskatoon, which remains the best-kept secret in Canada. What a great city it has become. After triumphant returns to the West End Cultural Center in Winnipeg and the Cedar theatre in Minneapolis, we wrapped up in the midst of the most boisterous St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago. I loved it all. Thanks so much.

Gearing up for the start of SO LET’S GO Leg Three next week. Some shows Sold Out already. Thanks to the folks in Natick, Fredericton, and Halifax for getting the tix so quickly. A few others are on the verge of filling the house too, so grab your tix as I’d love to see you. For those wondering about the show, myself and a band of Beautiful Gypsies play tunes from my two solo CD’s, some GBS fav’s, a Newfoundland Traditional song or two, and a few guest and surprises here and there.

Speaking of surprises, here’s a very poorly kept secret; my pal Scott Grimes is jumping on the bus for a few days around NYC, Philly, and Boston. Scott has been a great friend and supporter of mine for almost a decade. I would not have hit my mark a single time in the Robin Hood Movie if not for the constant advice and pointers from Scott and a few others. He remains one of my favourite collaborators as a songwriter, singer, and actor. Had a million laughs over the years playing Wolf to his Jimmy on Republic of Doyle and what a solid he did me in agreeing to play Bobbie in the SO LET’S GO video. His final scene is even shot in his backyard. What a Gent. Check out him and the lovely Jes in the vid:


Or if you’re reading this from outside of Canada, watch here.

A few other pals may join the madness as we roll along. So grateful to them all.

As I type, the Fairest One is enjoying a much deserved sleep in while The Prince, still in pj’s, waves his new Harry Potter wand with one hand while eating toast with the other. Over his head I can see a swimming pool with a waterslide, a perfect beach that falls away to a flat, blue, welcoming sea. I am a Lucky Bastard.

See you out there on the road in a week.

Cheers,
A

Portland, Oregon – Alberta Street

There are certain places that hit you the moment you lay eyes on them. I remember driving in from Newark airport and seeing the skyline of Manhattan for the first time and immediately feeling humbled with the scale of the human achievement the silhouettes of the skyscrapers represented. Likewise the sight of the Rocky Mountains rising out of what seemed like the endless Prairies to a kid from a hilly harbor town was instantly impressive.

Other places take some warming up to and for one reason or another, don’t immediately strike you as amazing. The first time I rolled out of the Great Big Sea Van and set foot in Portland, Oregon, we were in a warehouse district at an Irish festival I think, and never got to see the river or downtown. It was a few more trips before I got to walk the river path and really understand the beauty of the bridges. After a few more visits I discovered the Jupiter Hotel, the greatest Rock and Roll hotel in the world. Then we started a love affair with the Aladdin Theatre that has never let up. And today I am sitting on the tour bus in a completely new neighborhood on Alberta Street and it is so hip and cool that I feel a fool for not knowing about it for over a decade. We play a wonderfully preserved venue called the Alberta Rose Theatre, and we should have a grand crowd of lovely folks from this city. As I sit here today enjoying the many restaurants and artsy coffee shops, and recalling the most excellent bike ride around the river path I had with my brother Bern yesterday, I can say with all honesty that Portland is easily one of the best cities in the country and quite possibly the most livable one of them all.

Jaysus, it even has one of the coolest music stores I’ve ever been to, Trade Up Music. Found this gem on Kendel’s behalf. I already have a Harmony Tenor and all hands have coveted it for a while. I promised to keep my eye open for one and this beauty Stella was a steal. I grabbed it, and Kendel nabbed it from me right away.

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Ahead a day now and we are precariously parked on the steep hilly street in front of one of the most famous clubs in America, the Triple Door in Seattle. I have anted to play here since I first heard of it as a kid. I must have read about it on an album jacket or something, as it has lived in my mind with the other famous venues like The Filmore in San Francisco, the Bowery or Bottom Line in NYC, First Ave in Minneapolis and The Troubadour in LA. If you told fifteen year old me that I would get to play here one day, I’d have said you were cracked. If you told me it would be Sold Out, I might have had to take a seat.

But here we are. And Sold Out it is. What an amazing way to cap of a great run in the US that started in Denver and wound it’s way through Durango, Phoenix, LA, Oakland, Napa, and Portland, before parking in front of this iconic US musical landmark. Its back to Canada tonight for a massive gig at the famous Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, and all North of 49 run in Chiliwack, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. The last couple of gigs nip back across to US to two of my fav music cities in the world, Minneapolis and Chicago.

Miles to go and Mountains to climb before we sleep.

Just the way I like it.

Cheers,
Alan