The Heartbroken stirs things up

Though they may be a new band in one sense, there is a wealth of experience lurking behind the shadows of Canadian country band The Heartbroken. Fronted by the lovely and supremely talented Damhnait Doyle, the group has been stirring things up throughout the country over the past few months. The band’s debut record Tonight Tonight has been garnering much acclaim here in Canada, no doubt thanks to the natural, seamless flow to the songs contained on the record.

The Heartbroken will be making their Atlantic Canadian debut at Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub tomorrow night. Tickets are available by phone at (506) 857-9118. From the band’s vehicle in Western Canada, Doyle recalls the group, comprised of her, Blake Manning, Stuart Cameron and Peter Fusco, coming together almost by accident.

“Approximately two and a half years ago, we were sitting around drinking wine and playing songs in Stewart’s kitchen,” she recalls. “There was just something magical and compelling to it that we decided that it was something that we should move forward with.”

The group ended up taking up a couple of residencies in bars in the Toronto area to help hone their live show as well as their songwriting skills.

Indeed, The Heartbroken is not a band relying on past success to propel them forward. Doyle insists that songwriting is something that is shared equally among the quartet and is really something that serves to motivate them as well.

“The band is a completely collaborative effort. We have spent the past couple of years learning from each other and have found that process of learning is really what has been pushing us forward. The group offers a somewhat unique experience of four different people with different influences and experiences.”

Doyle is the first to admit The Heartbroken is a very different beast from her days as a solo pop artist. Simply by listening to her enthusiasm about the band, you can tell that she is in a very comfortable place right now; one that almost seems to fit her personality better than being a solo artist might have served.

“The guys in the band are such incredible musicians; I am really enjoying being surrounded by them. Being a solo artist can get kind of boring,” she laughs. “It has been a great adjustment though. I have never been one that has wanted to tread water; I want to continue learning and being on stage with these guys. I find that you tend to do better for yourself when you’re performing with people who are really experts at what they do. I never want to go on stage by myself alone ever again.”

Indeed when it comes to The Heartbroken, Doyle is thinking for the band’s long-term plans. Though she acknowledges that effectively “starting over,” building the band’s name city by city and fan by fan, might not be the most desirable option for any musician, she is willing to do whatever it takes to make the band work.

“I actually think that this is the way that music should be. It’s about hard work and people who are good at what they do. We are all very interested in connecting with fans and creating a situation where we are all together for the rest of our lives, as opposed to being a flash in the pan success. It is hard work but it is also extremely rewarding and fulfilling.”

Article published in July 22, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript