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.

Cheers,
Alan

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February 6th, 2018

A Dollar A Day Foundation

Today is a big day for Dr. Andrew Furey, Brendan Paddick and myself as we launch a new foundation to help Mental Health and Addictions programs and facilities across Canada. We three have been working on this for a couple of years and are excited to share the vision with you all and humbly ask that you join us in making the country a happier and healthier place to be.

It started like this.

For the period of about a month in the early 2000s while recording a Great Big Sea album, I used to walk the length of Water Street every day from my house to the GBS studio. I’d regularly pass a gent on the street asking for money. Just about every day I gave him a dollar. When the recording was done, I hit the road and did not walk Water Street for a long time. I thought about that fella and wondered how I might give him a dollar a day without actually handing it to him. A week later I wrote a cheque for 365 dollars to a local charity that services people with mental health and addictions issues.

A few years later, during the bustling lead up to the holiday season, Andrew, Brendan and myself met up at a social event on Water Street and as there were many people along the street asking for a dollar, I told them the story of the gent from years past. We quickly got to day dreaming about how amazing it would be to create a system where anyone who wanted to could give a dollar and help people like him right across the country. We imagined a new way of fundraising where there were no fancy balls or events, and no stressful deeps reaches into your pocket. We imagined a new group of donors who may have thought giving to be out of their reach but would happily donate their pocket change today, and tomorrow, and the next day. And we imagined a single place where we could gather all that spare change and put it to good work right where people like the original gent on Water Street needed it the most: on the front lines of Mental Health and Addictions services.

The foundation that would become known as A Dollar a Day was born that night.

The concept is a simple one. If you have a dollar to spare and would like to help with Mental Health and Addiction issues, we can put it good use for you. We’ll get it to programs and facilities across the country who are doing great work and who just need financial help to do more of it. We’ll do it today, and tomorrow, and for as long as you want.

I could tell you about the desperate need for supporting these causes and the multiplied reward for investing in and improving the mental health of a community, but I’ll direct you to our website for that.

www.adollaraday.ca

I’d love to keep you informed on what we are up to. I’d love it if you’d Follow us here:

Facebook

Youtube

Instagram

Twitter

Most of all, I’d love for you to join us and pledge a little per day to make a big change from coast to coast to coast. And why not tell people you did? Just post a short video like this and share it on your socials and tag us:

A few Regional Champions have jumped aboard already and I’m grateful to them all.




 

Thanks for your interest in this. And thanks for helping everyone with A Dollar A Day.

Cheers,
Alan

YYT-YYZ-YVR

January 15th, 2018

I had a few hours shy of a month Home for the Holiday Season and it was a glorious break with family and friends. I almost got used to sleeping in my own bed.

The last day or so have been typical of the last few days of a long break before the beginning of a long time away. Regular readers of this blog have heard me speak of this many times. The odd mix of excitement to hit the road and sadness about leaving those who love to have you around. You start counting the school drop offs you have left before you’ll go close to a month without another one. You walk your dog a little bit longer and hope he doesn’t know he won’t get the kind of walk he likes most for a few weeks. You linger at your Mom’s counter ten or fifteen minutes longer than you have reason to, just to watch your parents putter around the house and ask one more time, “where are you going this time?” Trying to commit the sound of their in-person voices to memory as they just don’t quite sound the same on the phone.

Then today comes. The bag gets packed. The cheeks get kissed. The furry heads get scratched and you make your way to the Air Canada Counter at YYT.

So here I am, somewhere in the sky between Newfoundland and Toronto. Flight #1 of the year, and the familiarity of my seat in row 13 tips the scales in the mix of emotions from melancholy to excitement. The joy of gathering the band at the airport gate. The smiles on the faces of the others who, much like me, can’t believe their luck. And that we get to fly on planes, jump on tour buses and cross international borders to sing and play for people.

Sad as Ever to Leave Home. Happy as Ever to Go on Tour.

The double life of every touring musician I’ve ever met.

I’m thrilled about the ticket sales and all so far, by the way. Sell Outs in Portland and Phoenix on this week, with a few more to come it seems. Looks like we’ll be jamming to great houses on both sides of the border.

Speaking of which, I feel compelled to say how grateful I am to be rolling to the US once again. I am Canadian for sure, but I love the US, and consider it nothing short of a privilege to get to cross the border so often to play and work in America. I think the relationship between Canadians and Americans is a special one. We may not agree on everything, all the time, but honestly, what good friends ever really do?

The Come Out With Me Tour starts Monday in Seattle. You’ll get to hear Donovan Woods open the evening with his awesome songs, then the band and I will romp through a set of songs from my latest album, A Week at The Warehouse, as well as songs from my other recordings, the Great Big Sea catalogue and the traditional music canon of Newfoundland.

The Beautiful Beautiful Band is on the go with Kendel Carson on fiddle, Cory Tetford on guitars, Kris MacFarlane on drums, Todd Lumley on keyboards and accordion, and Shehab Illyas on bass and impossibly beautiful Instagram Pics.

We’ve announced three legs of the tour which leads us ‘til about May. There will be another leg in the Summer which we’ll announce soon and will include the much asked about Newfoundland gigs, amongst other fun things.

For all info on the tour, check out the tour page.

I would love to see you out there.

Come on. Come on. Come Out with Me.

Cheers,
Alan

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December 31st, 2017

Hey All.

A quick Year in Review.

January found me and The Beautiful, Beautiful Band in Vancouver for the recording experience of a lifetime with Bob Rock. The grin on Cory Tetford’s face as he shreds on one of the same guitars that fueled Mötley Crüe, The Cult, and Metallica solos is a picture I have carried with me all year. We all had a ball and it shows in the tunes I’d say.

In February, Cory, Kendel Carson and I, along with the most awesome Dustin Bentall, went South. Like, WAY South to Buenos Aires and Montevideo playing some concerts and raising money for Olympic Athletes with the Gold Medal Plates organization. I think it is fair to say we all felt pretty lucky to be there.

We hit the road in March for a few dates in Ontario, but mostly south of the border in the US. One of the highlights was the stop in NYC at BB Kings, where guests like Bob Hallett, Murray Foster, and some of the cast of Come from Away joined us on stage. After an Easter break in April, we got to open for Barenaked Ladies for a few US concerts in Ithaca and Burlington. Always fun to jam with the BNL Gents.

The highlight of May was a wonderful opportunity to speak at a Governor General’s Leadership Conference in Whistler, BC. What a thrill to be amongst so many motivated people. June found us overseas with stops in the UK and Germany while July kicked off with a great Canada Day gig in Moncton and a glorious week at Jackson-Triggs Winery and wound up with a super fun and sudsy afternoon at the Toronto Beer Festival.

My fav show in August was definitely in Winnipeg. As ever, the Winnipeg gang came out in droves for the Canada Games gig in the Forks. I can’t help but think how many of my Year in Review blogs have had a Winnipeg gig as a summer if not year highlight. What a town. Loves it.

Saskatoon is always a blast and we had a time at the CCMAs in September which led right into recording a new album for the Ennis Sisters. I can’t wait for you all to hear the new tunes and sounds that Maureen and the Ladies have come up with. Just a few days after that, a joyous reuniting of the Indoor Garden party gang took place overseas. I met up with Russell Crowe, Scott Grimes, Carl Falk and the usual gang with a special guest, the most awesome Lorraine O’Reilly subbing in for Pretty Woman Sam Barks. What a time we had in London, Leeds and Dublin.

After a brief break at home, it was album and book launch time in October. What a thrill to have both of them debut so strongly and especially to have the book still in the Top 5 on the bestsellers list. Somewhat of a marathon press tour took me through most of October and included many morning shows and nighttime literary events. They were long days, but it was so satisfying to have such interest in the sophomore effort as an author. Grateful, for sure.

One special day in the midst of it all was a stop in Vancouver to raise some funds for ongoing care for John Mann, Spirit of the West singer, who’s been dealing with early onset Alzheimer’s. What can only be called a dream cast assembled at the legendary Commodore Ball Room in Vancouver for a show of love and support like I’ve never seen. We recorded a special song and the mighty Shehab Illyas put together an incredible video that we’ll be releasing early in the new year. There should be a link of sorts to a donation page and we hope you enjoy the song and give a little or a lot to continue the cause.

And finally, December was all about the CP Holiday Train. For a fella who grew up in an all but train-less environment, it was amazing to ride the rails though the hills and plains and by the long and winding lakes and rivers of the West Coast of the Canada. Thanks to the kind folks at Canadian Pacific for having us aboard. Hope they have us back soon.

And that brings us here, to the last day of 2017. With snow covering the backyard rink that my neighbours unbelievably let me tinker with on their property, I am about to get dressed to head to Mallard Cottage to sing a few tunes with pals for a National CBC Special. Tune in tonight. You never know who you’ll see.

I looked at my flight segments on my Air Canada app shows that I took 106 Air Canada flights this year. By memory, I took one on West Jest, two on United, one on a South American Airline I don’t recall and one on Harbour Air. I have never done over 100 flights in one year and this year I did 111. Jaysus that’s a lot of flyin’. But a lot of fun too.

Much to come in 2018. The Come Out With Me Tour starts in Seattle in just a couple of weeks and should run for the better part of this year and maybe into 2019. All the Winter and Spring dates are on the site and we’ll be announcing Summer stuff real soon.

I’ll have exciting news about a Mental Health and Addictions fundraising project that myself and two friends have been working on behind the scenes for almost two years. I really hope you’ll jump aboard with us. So, stay tuned, I suppose for more news to come.

For now, I’d just like to thank you all as ever for the life I get to live. You are the only reason I get to do it. I am more grateful to you all than I can say, sing, or write. But, still, I’ll be out there real soon to show you as best I can.

Much Love to you all from Newfoundland.

Happy New Year.

Cheers,
Alan