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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

Home

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

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
Alan

Halifax, Nova Scotia | Fall

September 15th, 2017

Been listening to a lot of me lately, with a new album and a new Audio book in the works, so I’m excited to listen to someone else for a while this week. I’m in Halifax for a few days to record some new music for the Ennis Sisters. I feel so lucky to be a part of it all. I’ve been a fan of their singing and Maureen’s writing and guitar playing for over two decades. We’ve been writing and arranging new material over the summer and have descended on the Sonic Temple to lay it down with a killer band including Cory Tetford, Kris MacFarlane, Aaron Collis, and Ronald Hynes. Once again, I can’t believe my luck.

Back in my world, you can check out the newest track from the new album now—Fall. You can STREAM on my updated Spotify playlist, or PRE-ORDER the album on iTunes to download it for yourself now.

Fall is a song I wrote with two of my favourite writers in Newfoundland these days. Tim Baker has been the driving force and creative engine of Hey Rosetta! for many years. His versatility as a composer speaks for it self on every one of their beautiful and complex songs. Andrew James O’Brien could very well be the best lyricist in the province and you can hear his poetry on all the wonderful songs on the Fortunate Ones tunes.

I thought it would amazing to get them in one room to help me with a song. I had the idea for Fall for quite awhile. The central figure in the song is a person who has never really truly been in love, but desperately wants to be. The character in Tom Wait’s “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You” has always fascinated me. Likewise, I studied The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock in University and both characters struck me as people I’d want to write about myself. Not because they are like me, but because they are not.

Musically, I love slower songs in 6/8 time signature as they sound like powerful waltzes. It is quite common in Celtic music and when it occasionally crosses over into pop and rock, it can be brilliant. Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” might be the best example of this and has always been one of my fav songs.

When Tim and Andrew and I gathered, I sprung these two ideas and influences on them and we all ran with it. Trust me, they wrote all the good parts.

I hope you like Fall.

Cheers,
Alan