Alan Doyle at the Brockville Arts Centre
It was a lovely old soft seat theatre in eastern Ontario with a history stretching back to 1858 that was the venue for this superb concert by Newfoundland’s Alan Doyle.
For 20 years, Alan was at the heart of the Newfoundland folk-rock band Great Big Sea. From 1993 to 2013, the band brought the best of Newfoundland music to the listening ears of the world. Since the band’s retirement, Alan has found his way into a solo career, spending months each year on tour, away from his wife and son, bringing musical joy to the ears of his fans.
The Brockville Arts Centre was all but sold out for this concert. Alan played a variety of tunes, some from his Great Big Sea days, some Newfoundland traditional tunes, and some new compositions. A very talented composer, and ever the hospitable Newfoundlander, Alan makes it his business to welcome his fans at every concert with his song “Come Out With Me:”
I spent my whole life waiting for tonight
Running from the devil in the middle of the deep dark sea
I hope you don’t mind if I ask you once or twice
Come on Come on Come out with me
Come on Come on Come out with me
It’s a rousing number, finely crafted by Alan to do exactly what he wanted, to welcome his audience and make them feel both excited to have a musical night out and completely at home at the same time. Trust a Newfoundlander to make that a reality.
Not long into the evening in Brockville, Alan directly engaged with the audience. He brought onto the stage a young girl who had a birthday. “Make my day!” her sign had read. Alan obliged, and she received vast hugs and fist bumps from all the band members. Another sign was from a five-year-old boy who wanted to request a favourite song. Alan promised it was coming up on the set list, and indeed, it was.
The concert included a pretty spectacular light show as well as superb sound, and the entertainers Alan surrounds himself with are spectacularly talented musicians. Alan calls them The Beautiful Beautiful Band, for very obvious reasons.
Kendel Carson lights a spectacular fire with her fiddle. Todd Lumley was amazing on piano, synths and accordion. Rock steady on bass was Shehab Illyas. Drums and percussion from Kris MacFarlane held it all together, and on lead guitars, with a spectacular voice, was Cory Tetford.
And the repertoire – “Folk-rock rootsy music laced with Newfoundlandia,” as Alan puts it, hit just the right notes with the audience.
“I have no trouble with a sea shantie sitting next to a metal song,” said Alan. “That’s honestly who I am musically. I’ve always been a guy who listened to Def Leppard and Planxty at the same time…”
It is also obvious that Alan loves his mother very much. He told a delightful story of how she asked him to write her a waltz, so of course, he did what his mom asked. The performance of that song had all of the band members involved in a bit of fun: choreographed waltzing as they played, delighting the audience members whose feet had no choice but to join in.
Brockville’s crowd paid good money for those soft seats in the restored theatre, but most of them never sat for more than a few minutes once Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Beautiful Band hit the stage. Everyone was up dancing, appreciating Alan just as much as he appreciated them, and having a truly wicked time.
There are many more dates to come on this tour. Find one near you at
You might also like to check out Alan’s two books: Where I Belong and A Newfoundlander In Canada, as well as his three solo CD’s, all available through his website and on iTunes.