Alan Doyle, Artist of the Week
Runs Nov. 16-20th.
Alan Thomas Doyle (born May 17, 1969) is a Canadian musician and actor, best known for his work as one of the lead singers of Canadian folk rock band Great Big Sea. 20 years is a long time in anyone’s life. Few bands last more than an album or two — a few tours, a song played on the radio, and then they’re quickly forgotten. Alan Doyle, Sean McCann and Bob Hallett have somehow managed to keep Great Big Sea going for two decades. And more often than not, they have done it with more than a bit of flair.
Alan Doyle was born to Thomas and Regina Doyle in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. His mother was a piano teacher who taught him. Doyle attended St. Kevin’s in Goulds, NL just outside Petty Harbour. Doyle has a brother, Bernie, and two sisters, Michelle and Kim. He was raised Roman Catholic. He attended Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. It is also there that he met Séan McCann, Bob Hallett and Darrell Power with whom he helped to form Great Big Sea. He primarily plays electric and acoustic guitars, and the bouzouki for live performances, but he’s been known to play mandolin and banjo.
Before Great Big Sea Doyle played in a duo with John Brenton called Staggering Home. As a teen he played in his uncle’s band, the New Sandells.
Doyle’s wife, Joanne, gave birth to their first son, Henry Thomas Doyle – whom Alan calls ‘The Prince’ – in July 2006.
Russell Crowe & Alan Doyle
Doyle has also been involved with a handful of stage, television and film productions. As a child, he appeared as an extra in the movie A Whale for the Killing, based on Farley Mowat’s book of the same name, which was filmed in his hometown. He has also hosted regional arts awards shows in Atlantic Canada, appeared as a presenter on the Juno Awards and done a turn onstage in his hometown’s “24-Hour Musical” performance of Grease. In 2005, he composed music for the CBC comedy Hatching, Matching and Dispatching, which stars Mary Walsh. In 2006, he worked on scoring the film Young Triffie’s Been Made Away With, directed by Walsh. Doyle has also produced an album for his sister, Michelle Doyle.
Doyle has been linked to Russell Crowe and his bands 30 Odd Foot of Grunts and The Ordinary Fear of God, having produced and co-written several songs on Crowe’s album, My Hand, My Heart, and played several shows with Crowe. In 2011 they released The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol.III with 9 songs in both acoustic demo and finished format, for 18 tracks total. This friendship also led to Doyle’s casting as Allan A’Dayle alongside Crowe, in Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood, released May 14, 2010. He played Dingy in the film Winter’s Tale, also with Crowe and Durand, as well as Will Smith and Colin Farrell.
Doyle has guest starred on three episodes of the CBC Television series Republic of Doyle as the character Wolf Redmond. Season 2, episode 2 introduced him as an inmate sent to prison on charges of B&Es and a few robberies. Doyle guest starred with Russell Crowe, Kevin Durand, and Scott Grimes on the first show of Republic of Doyle’s third season after the four had costarred on Robin Hood. His third appearance – the second with Grimes – was on season 4, episode 6.
In 2012, Doyle released his first solo album, Boy on Bridge. The title is a nod to Doyle’s credit as the “boy on bridge” in the movie A Whale for the Killing, when he was a young boy. The first single from the album is “I’ve Seen a Little” and the album features collaborations with Canadian musicians Hawksley Workman, Jim Cuddy, Ron Hynes, and actor-musician Russell Crowe, among others. The video for the second single, “Testify”, was nominated for a 2012 Juno. The creation of the album was captured by a film crew, resulting in a documentary also named Boy on Bridge directed by Joel Stewart and John Vatcher.
Doyle, with Great Big Sea, was featured on Canadian country artist, Dean Brody‘s 2012 album titled Dirt. Singing on the track ‘It’s Friday’.
In 2014, Doyle released a book entitled Where I Belong, about his youth growing up in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Alan Doyle has made a career out of blending folk music with traditional Celtic elements, which he carries into his second solo album, So Let’s Go. The album’s 10 tracks span up tempo barroom stompers to sweet ballads, boosted by layered vocals, heaps of acoustic instruments and a prevailing “we’re all in this together” mentality that runs throughout the record. So Let’s Go cane out on January 20, 2015