From folk to pop: Alan Doyle

Alan Doyle

Canadian rocker Alan Doyle played to a sold out show at Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on Jan. 28.

On Wednesday, Jan. 28, artist Alan Doyle took the stage at the Centre for the Arts as a highlight to the star-studded final season on the Brock campus.

Doyle is the lead singer for the folk-rock band Great Big Sea. He has also been in movies such as Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood and on television for his recurring role in Republic of Doyle, for which Great Big Sea created the theme song.

After sharing some videos of his new puppy, Doyle explained his past with getting started in playing shows as well as his personal future endeavours in music.

Doyle is no stranger to Brock University. He first played at Brock, along with Great Big Sea, in the early 90’s.

“We played in Isaac’s back in 1995,” said Doyle. “Years and years ago we played a bunch of crazy campus things, way back in the 90’s when it was a lot more of an outdoor beer garden kind of thing… That’s how we got across the country first.”

“We used to love it because you might go to a pub or some metal bar to play in the night time and you never knew if you were going to get paid, but the universities would always pay you. It was a little bit of money and it was good fun. It’s too bad they don’t do more of it. It’s harder on the young bands,” said Doyle.

After meeting large success and acclaim with Great Big Sea, Doyle relaunched his career as a solo artist.

“It was just time,” said Doyle. “There was going to be a break after the Great Big Sea 20th anniversary tour and it’s just fun to get off and do something off the mother ship. We had a planned break after the XX tour but Sean is leaving so that complicates it… We have to try to figure out how to deal with his leaving and figure out creatively what we will do without him. That might add some time to the hiatus but the plan is that me and Bob and a new machine will roll again.”

While Doyle has long been celebrated for his rock-and-roll roots, the inspiration from his newest album, So Let’s Go, is centred around pop music.

“I’ve been listening to a lot of pop music these past two years and there’s been a lot of pop music that is centred on a folk thing,” said Doyle. “Like a Phillip Phillips record, just playing a guitar, or Ed Sheeran, or Mumford and Sons. I wondered what it would be like to do a pop record but have the folk thing in the middle of it be me. Just some dude from Petty Harbour, whistling and playing his mandolin.”

Doyle’s enthusiasm and musical legacy filled the Sean O’Sullivan theatre to a packed audience.

“It’s always awesome! I should be over it by now but I’m not. A sold out show is so wicked,” said Doyle.

The mix of songs from his new album, along with older songs that he wrote with Great Big Sea, Russell Crowe, or for his previous solo album, Boy On Bridge, made for a night of constant foot tapping and singing until throats were sore. The music was beautifully written and well performed,leaving the audience to feel compelled to join in and be a part of the jubilation. Additionally, his witty dialogue and stories shared between songs produced an intimacy within the show as though you were enjoying a kitchen party in Newfoundland with close friends.

For those interested in seeing Alan Doyle live, his upcoming tour dates are listed online at alandoyle.ca/tour and his new album So Let’s Go is available now for purchase and download. Visit arts.brocku. ca for more about upcoming performances.

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