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.

www.adollaraday.ca

Cheers,

Alan

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

Home

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