I am sitting in my kitchen in St John’s, Newfoundland watching through the windows as what only could be called a snownami covers the city.
My backyard has been made invisible, likewise my street and neighbors’ houses as a thick, salty veil of snow blows in from the Atlantic.
Quite fitting that this wintery day affords a moment to look back on Leg 1 of the So Let's Go Tour, the most Canadian of all tours.
Leg 1 started and finished in the heart of the Canadian Winter. I flew into Pearson Airport in Toronto and was whisked to a rehearsal studio not too far away where I met with these Beautiful Gypsies.
- l-r Cory Tetford, Kendel Carson, me, Shehab Illyas, Todd Lumley, Kris MacFarlane
It was great to see all hands excited about the tour and learning the new So Let's Go tunes and getting new gear up and ready. Here’s my rack for the tour:
l-r Kala Uke, Trinity College Bouzouki, Gibson 335, Godin A8 Mando, 2x Takamine EN10 C
Here’s my Pedal Board:
Very modest compared to Cory’s:
And they say size does not matter.
After a couple of pretty intense rehearsals I hit the press tour on Monday. Had some grand chats on TV and radio and even sang the Anthem at The Leafs game in Toronto. As the Carolina Hurricanes were the visiting team, I had to sing the Star Spangled Banner, the hardest song in the world to sing if you are not a rangey singer. It has always puzzled me, singing the anthems. It occupies a strange pace in the world of entertainment. If you do it well, no one cares or even notices. You do it poorly, and you instantly become a YouTube star. I got through it all and enjoyed the game.
The concerts for real started in Kitchener and rolled for a few weeks through the dead of winter in southern Ontario. Highlights on stage included the debut of many of the new tunes while highlights off stage included Cory karaoking Tom Petty in North Bay. In the true winter of it all, we had to shovel our bus out in the middle of a storm in Brampton.
Over the duration of the three week run, the new tunes left the front of our brains and went into the muscles of our hands and feet and mouths. I love it when a new tune can be delivered without spending any energy remembering it. It confirms for me that whatever magical process in my scattered brain that allows me to recall and perform hundreds of songs on cue is still working. I have no idea how it works, to be honest. And I have no interest in learning how it works, for fear the discovery of it would ruin it somehow.
By the time we hit the magical Sold Out gigs in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall and the triumphant homecoming at Holy Heart Auditorium, me and The Beautiful Gyspies had become a band.
A band with a real show to give people.
And that’s my favourite thing to be.
Leg 2 starts in Whitecourt, Alberta on Saturday. At the World Snowmobile Invasion.
Let it Snow.
Canadian songwriter Alan Doyle released his second full-length solo album, So Let's Go, on January 20th. Doyle is an accomplished actor, producer, and best-known as lead singer for Newfoundland’s beloved Great Big Sea. Full of exuberant choruses and foot-stomping rhythms along with the traditional Celtic influences Doyle grew up with, So Let's Go is definitely an album for celebrating the good times. Find out more at http://alandoyle.ca