Newfoundland-based artist, Alan Doyle, announces a release of a new EP, Back to the Harbour – a collection of songs to celebrate his love of folk music – on May 21. The album was produced by Joel Plaskett at The New Scotland Yard studio in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Featured on the album with Doyle are Kendel Carson and Cory Tetford from his touring band along with Plaskett.
Back to the Harbour features three original songs plus unique spins on three traditional classics: “Back Home on the Island” by one of Newfoundland’s most popular musical groups Wonderful Grand Band; “Let it Be Me” popularized by legendary duo The Everly Brothers; and the first single, the shanty “Leave Her Johnny.” “Leave Her Johnny” is available at all digital streaming services and retailers today.
Alan says of “Leave Her Johnny”:
“This shanty of a ship’s last day is one of the dozen or more songs I don’t remember learning…I realize this may seem odd to some, as in most parts of the world people have one or two songs they don’t remember learning, like Happy Birthday or Silent Night. But in Newfoundland we have so many songs that are just part of our language. I doubt many from around here could tell you when they learned I’se The B’y or Lukey’s Boat. We just know them.”
Back to the Harbour follows Rough Side Out, Doyle’s chart-topping country album released last February, and Songs from Home, a collection of music from Doyle and an all-star lineup of Newfoundland artists, which was released in November. Doyle – the songwriter, producer, actor and author – is a 12-time JUNO Award nominee for his solo material and work with his iconic band Great Big Sea. In 2018, he was awarded the Order of Canada for his contributions to the musical traditions of Newfoundland and for his commitment to numerous charitable initiatives. His most recent book, All Together Now: A Newfoundlander’s Light Tales for Heavy Times, was released in November 2020 and quickly became a national bestseller.
There are few artists capable of appealing to music fans of all stripes, and Alan Doyle is one of them. From the moment he burst onto the scene in the early 1990s with his band Great Big Sea, Canadians fell in love with the pride of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, whose boundless charisma and sense of humour was eclipsed only by his magnetic stage presence. His influence is now being heard in a new generation of artists as his solo work continues to endear him to roots music fans everywhere.
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.