There perhaps couldn’t be a better title for Alan Doyle’s latest solo release than So Let’s Go.
Although the record wasn’t his solo debut – that designation belongs to 2012’s Boy On Bridge – Doyle arrived at a critical juncture in his life at the end of 2013.
After more than two decades of making music and performing sold-out shows all over the globe, Doyle’s former band Great Big Sea went their separate ways, more or less thrusting Doyle into a solo career whether he was looking for it or not.
Of course to insinuate that Doyle is somehow making music against his wishes couldn’t be farther from the truth. He’s the first to admit that he loved the time spent with Great Big Sea, but at the same token, has loved the adventure of getting a solo career off the ground as well.
“It was refreshing to take on some new challenges, but it was also a little terrifying. Especially in the early days,” Doyle says from his tour bus while en route to a performance in Massachusetts earlier this week.
“When you’re used to knowing every nut and bolt to the business, it’s going to be daunting to branch out to do something new. You just never know how things will work out.”
Fortunately, and not surprisingly, Doyle’s worries were all for naught. He assembled a stellar backing band, The Beautiful Gypsies, which consists of some of Canada’s most prolific musicians, including fiddler Kendel Carson and guitarist Cory Tetford.
“That initial anxiety was quickly replaced with a natural curiosity, learning about one another and seeing what everyone was capable of. The fact is, everyone in this band is such good players and such worldly people that it’s liberating to make the room for each of them to be themselves.
“The heart and soul of Great Big Sea was traditional Newfoundland music, which I loved and still do. The great thing about the band I have playing with me now is that everyone comes from vastly different backgrounds, like country, rock, soul, and pop, but they are also versed in playing that traditional music. There tends to be more in the way of dimensions to our shows now. Some nights it’s more leaning towards country, while other nights it’s more traditional or rock-based. My favourite nights tend to be when all those styles come together throughout the course of the show.”
Despite So Let’s Go having celebrated its first anniversary this past January, Doyle excitedly notes that he and his band are currently performing a handful of new tracks live.
Asked how the new material compares to the songs from his first two efforts, Doyle says performing the songs live have allowed them to gestate in more of an energetic direction than some of their other tracks.
He shares that he hopes to enter the recording studio this coming fall in advance of a 2017 release.
“The nice thing about putting new songs together when you’re touring is that they end up being more concert-driven and energetic than something you write in the studio or rehearsal space.”
Alan Doyle’s performance at Casino New Brunswick on Saturday evening is in conjunction with N.B. Heart Truth, an evening that also includes a red carpet reception and fashion show. All money raised on Saturday goes directly to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of New Brunswick.
Kurtis Sisk, the organization’s CEO, says the event serves to raise awareness on improving women’s heart health, which is the number one cause of death among Canadian women.
“On Saturday night we will see a group of New Brunswick women – and one inspirational little girl – who have each agreed to walk the runway in a custom-made red dress, so they can represent themselves as confident survivors and champions of women’s heart health awareness. The Red Dress is a symbol of the Heart Truth campaign, conveying the strength and beauty of women affected by heart disease, and those who have made positive lifestyle improvements in the name of their personal heart health,” he says.
“The truth is, by making simple lifestyle changes, women can reduce their risk of heart disease by as much as 80%. By quite literally shining the spotlight on these inspirational New Brunswickers, our goal is to educate and empower everyone in attendance to take care of their own heart health, or to help a loved one to protect themselves from heart disease.”
What: N.B. Heart Truth, featuring Alan Doyle
When: Saturday April 30, 7 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets start at $65. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone 1-866-943-8849 and online at www.casinonb.ca.