Sean McCann: Bloodshot but not bruised

When Great Big Sea member Sean McCann finally reaches me, he isn’t shy about admitting the fact that he is late contacting me via phone for our chat.

At the time of our conversation, McCann is in Vancouver during the Winter Olympics where Great Big Sea was slated to play four shows over the course of five days.

McCann begins to explain his tardiness: “The reason I’m late calling is that I had to find somewhere quiet to get away and talk. From what we’ve seen since we’ve been here during the Olympics is that this city is like a non-stop party. People are coming ‘home’ and going to bed at like 10:00 am. It’s just like the East Coast Music Awards,” he laughs.

As if playing during the Olympic festivities wasn’t enough to celebrate, McCann is also hoisting a glass to commemorate the release of his debut solo effort, Lullabies For Bloodshot Eyes, a record that began taking formation after the birth of his first child.

“I started writing a lot more in terms of songs after my first child was born. After that happened, I began to take in the many changes that go along with becoming a parent and started writing about what I was going through and my experience relating to it.” 

If Great Big Sea’s albums were the rowdy kid on the school bus, McCann’s record would be the quiet, introspective kid who has things to say but doesn’t choose such a forum to do it in.

McCann says that while some of the songs on his record were presented to his band mates for consideration as Great Big Sea material, he is the first to admit that he considers the two to be quite different. 

“I brought some of these songs to the band years ago and they weren’t acted upon but I think that many of my songs are in a different voice and couldn’t necessarily be played in the context of Great Big Sea either,” he says. “At the end of the day, I just wanted to be sure that these songs saw release, no matter whose name was on the front of the record.”

Between Great Big Sea’s seemingly never-ending schedule and family life, how much promotion behind Lullabies… does McCann expect to do?

“If the record reacts well and people want to see me live, I will definitely be there. As it stands, Great Big Sea works 120 days a year and I have been very lucky to be able to indulge my musical whims alongside having a family,” McCann says. 

“I am going to try to play some of these songs with Great Big Sea but where the band’s shows are so powerful, it would have to fit within the bigger picture of a GBS show.”

“Now that being said, I consider my songs to be powerful but they are definitely spoken in a quieter voice. Paddy Moloney from The Chieftains once told me ‘If you want people to really listen, you have to whisper’ and I really do think that’s true.”

Sean McCann’s Lullabies For Bloodshot Eyes is in stores and available online now.