Air Canada Flight 697 • YYT-YYZ

June 12th, 2018

I don’t want to be on this plane.

I’ve been home for over a month and wish I could stay for another one. I am lucky. My wife and son are beautiful, and I was just getting used to them being used to me being a regular part of their lives for the first time this calendar year. I have a nice house on a nice street that is just a short walk from my Mom’s. She was buttering her still hot home-made bread and slicing a ham at the kitchen counter not long before I was dropped at the airport.

Leaving home is never easy. Quite often, my leaving is for work. And I am even luckier in that regard. I love my work. I have a dream job doing the thing in life I love the most and get paid to do it. Even so, I find it hard to leave for a gig or a recording after some quality time at home. Today, I am leaving for a different reason all together, and I wish, even more, that I did not have to go. I am flying to Toronto to speak to the media and some potential corporate partners for a foundation myself and two friends, Andrew and Brendan, started to help people suffering with Mental Health and Addictions issues across the country.

As I’ve told a few times, the idea started honestly and simply. A few years back, I lived in one side of downtown St. John’s and the Great Big Sea recording studio was at the other. We were working on a record for about a month and everyday I walked the length of Water Street to make tunes. Every day I passed a man on the street. He had the same paper cup in front of him every day and I gave him a dollar every day. We’d chat some mornings and I learned he had mental health issues that led to substance addictions issues that led him here. Homeless on Water Street.

When the record was done, we hit the road and I did not walk on Water Street for a few weeks, maybe even a month or so. Over that time, I wondered about the gent on the street. How could I give him a dollar a day if I was not there? How could I help him whether I was in St. John’s or anywhere else? I was happy enough to find four quarters that day, and assumed I’d be able to that seven times a week, so I started saving loonies and quarters and not long later, I wrote a cheque for $365 to a local charity that fed the homeless.

A Dollar A Day. That’s what I committed to giving.

A while later, I told Andrew and Brendan about this idea. They loved the notion and very quickly we came to wonder how many people out there would give a dollar a day if someone just directed that dollar to the right place for them. A few conversations later, A Dollar A Day was born.

We started researching and learning more and more about the desperate need for more access to programs and services. About how there were quite a few excellent facilities across the country offering help but they were woefully underfunded. We learned statistics about how many people are directly affected by Mental Health and Addictions issues and how the stigma of such things prevented many from talking about it openly, much less fundraise for it. We learned how effective treatment can be if people were just made aware of it and had easier access to it. We learned about how much return there is to gain from investing just a dollar into these programs and facilities.

In short, we learned how important it is to turn our attention to Mental Health and Addictions so we launched this foundation just a few months back in Newfoundland. Now we are taking the message across the country. The more I learn about the sweeping problems with Mental Health and Addictions, the more we know how vital it is to make a difference and to create and offer a situation where everyone can have a hand in the solution. One little bit at a time.

I don’t want to be on this plane.

I wish this trip was not necessary at all.

But it is.

So off we go.

You’ll likely spot one or all of us on a screen or in the papers or hear us on the radio. If you’d like to learn more and hopefully join the movement and share the change, just go here.



Peterborough, ON | On the bus

February 22nd, 2018

In many ways, this is day one of the Come Out With Me Tour. We did have a fantastic run through some old haunts and broke some fresh new ground in the West and South of the US and on the Rock Boat, but today is the first day we assemble the full touring cast. That cast includes Fortunate Ones, who’ll be opening the show and travelling with us till May.

Also joining us is our old friend Jaye who’s designed a set and light show for the next pile of dates. Many of you might remember Jaye from the GBS touring days as he was our one and only LD for almost two decades. In the past few years he’s been doing some big stuff working with The Lumineers, Simple Plan, and Dean Brody just to name a few. Can’t wait for you all top see what he’s dreamed up for this tour.

So, again, in many ways this is day one of the full team which bring with it a few hundred new cues to hit, new pieces of equipment to remember how to use, new instruments to play in different ways, and new songs to sing from a new CD. There’s a nervous energy in the air that only happens on day one. Lyrics are written to help commit them to memory. Volumes and tones of new instruments are questioned and tweaked. Knee jerk reactions from how we used to do it will lead us astray a time or two. Naps just can’t be had as minds just wont stop spinning to plot a course through it all. Butterflies that just won’t fly away.

But amidst all the question, there are reassurances. Tonight’s show is Sold Out and has been for months. Kingston and Montreal later this week are Sold Out to the doors as well. There are a handful left for tomorrow nights show in Kitchener and maybe two handfuls for the show in Ottawa at the wonderful NAC on Sunday night.

And then there is Massey Hall.

Massey Hall is Holy Ground for Canadian musicians. It is the most prestigious venue in the entire county. When I was a kid I’d hear of famous concerts there played by everyone from Billy Joel to Gordon Lightfoot to Bob Marley to Bob Dylan. When Great Big Sea got to play there in the latter half of the 1990s it was a dream come true. I think I saw every case loaded in. Watched every speaker pointed to the vintage seats and every light shone to the decorated walls and ceiling and ornate windows. I loved every second of it. I swore to those seats and walls and windows and ceiling, Massey Hall is getting everything I got.

A more seasoned Canadian music veteran once said to me. ‘You might sneak your way to the top of the bill in a theatre or two here and there, but you got to be a real headliner to headline at Massey.’ When GBS stopped playing and that mighty ship I’d been on for all of my adult life tied up, I wondered if my days as a headliner were over. It took half a lifetime to get to headline that stage once. I was pretty sure I’d ever be lucky enough to get to do it again.

Well, on Saturday, me and The Beautiful Beautiful Band headline Massey Hall. I was nervous when my manager Louis and my agent Jack said they wanted me to go for it I was nervous about taking on such a jump. At just under 3000 seats it is a big leap to make. They were convinced we could do it and I’m grateful to them for their faith in it all.

The show on Saturday is Sold Out.

I’m trying to think of a way to tell you how big a deal this is for me, but I’m not sure I can. Like I said, I could hardly believe it when I got to headline there in one incarnation, so to get to do it again, in another one, is almost overwhelming.

Thank you to all the AD team for making this happen for me. And most importantly, by far, thank you to all of you who bought the tickets to make this night possible for me and all the gang.

I’m nervous about it.

I can’t wait for it.

And Massey Hall is getting everything I got. Again.

Thank You.


Toronto Hotel

October 17th, 2017

Friday was the day for the release of the new album A Week at The Warehouse I couldn’t be more happy with response to all the new tunes. Today is the day for the release day of the new book, A Newfoundlander in Canada. Advance readers have been giving glowing reviews and I am excited to finally get the stories out there. As ever, there’s a nervous energy and an anxious hope that people enjoy what they read. I think that is inevitable for anybody like me who loves to make people smile. So, suffice it to say, with sincerity, I hope you like the book.

A Newfoundlander in Canada is really a journal-like account of my earliest trips across Canada. It tells the story of what the vast and varied country of Canada looked like to me, a fella from the far, far east of the country who’d never really been anywhere but Home. Combine with that, the fact that this fella was seeing the country, the one his family had only recently joined, out the window of a band van as a folk-based quartet tried to bring the music of an Island in the middle of the sea to the mainland of Canada, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.

I am grateful to Martha, and Scott and Kelly and all at Random House Canada for all the help getting this done. Likewise, I am as grateful as ever to Bob Hallett who sat in front of me in the GBS van in more ways than one for so many years, as his memory is much better than mine.

A Newfoundlander in Canada available everywhere today.

Thanks All

A Week at The Warehouse, Available Today!

October 13th, 2017

Hey All

Well, today is the day. Recorded in January, the new album, A Week at The Warehouse drops worldwide today. Thank you so much to those of you who have pre-ordered. For everyone else, you should be able to find the new album anywhere you buy or stream music.

As usual, this album is a collection of my many varied influences. You’ll hear some Traditional Celtic, Newfoundland-sounding songs like Come Out With Me and Bully Boys. You’ll also hear some songs that are quite rock ‘n’ roll like Ready to Go. Many people have already heard and applauded Summer Summer Night, the most country influenced tune on the record, and I’m grateful to Country Radio and video stations for playing the single.

There are a couple of deeply personal and special songs on the album. Somewhere in a Song is really a tip of the hat to my Mom and Dad and how they managed to raise us in a house that in retrospect had very little modern finery but had, in abundance, so much more of life’s most important things. Beautiful to Me is my announcement to the world that my concerts are an open door for anybody of any shape or size or colour or race or creed or gender identity or sexual preference. All you need is Love in your heart and my place is yours.

I got to work with two of the biggest heroes of my musical life thanks to this album. Bob Rock produced a significant portion of the soundtrack to my youth. I literally still can’t believe I got to stand next to him day after day in a recording studio. His former Payolas bandmate Paul Hyde makes a very special guest appearance on the album as well. I couldn’t be more chuffed about it all.

But the real stars of this record are Kendel Carson, Cory Tetford, Todd Lumley, Shehab Illyas, and Kris MacFarlane. Beautiful is probably not a big enough word to describe this Band. What an incredible privilege it is to stand in the middle of them and sing a song. I am delighted to tell you they’ll all be aboard for the Come Out With Me Tour in 2018!

It is always an odd combination of nervousness and excitement when a new project finally leaves your hands and goes out into the world. So, I really hope you like the tunes and they find a place in your day-to-day listening. Even better, I hope you think the songs would make for a great night out and you come to see one of the shows on the tour starting early in the New Year.

Thanks so much for everything.