About Alan Doyle
Alan Doyle is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and actor who rose to fame as the enigmatic frontman for acclaimed Newfoundland folk-rock band Great Big Sea. During their commercial peak from the late '90s to the mid-2000s, the band's energetic fusion of traditional Celtic fare and sea shanties earned them international success far beyond the shores of their island home. Doyle launched a solo career in 2012 and released a trio of well-received albums over the next five years, and published two books. In addition to his musical work, he has appeared in numerous films and television shows.
Born and raised in the small town of Petty Harbour just south of St. Johns, Doyle learned piano and drums as a child, soon moving on to guitar (and eventually mandolin, bouzouki, and pretty much anything with strings). He joined his uncle's rockabilly-meets-traditional-Newfoundland band the New Standells at the age of 15, and while attending St. John's University, was one-half of a duo (with John Benton) called Staggering Home. Following a series of informal jam sessions with members of the Celtic rock band Rankin Street (Sean McCann, Bob Hallett, and Darrell Power), Doyle joined forces with them and Great Big Sea was born. Mixing traditional Newfoundland music with a fresh pop sensibility, and with Doyle handling lead vocals, the band released a self-titled album independently in 1992, and then signed with Warner Canada, which promptly reissued their debut. Some ten studio albums followed as Great Big Sea grew into one of Canada's biggest and most respected bands. Doyle issued a solo album, Boy on Bridge, in 2012 which peaked at number 11 on the Canadian album charts and number 37 in the U.S. The album title refers to Doyle's lone cinema credit as the "boy on bridge" in the film A Whale for the Killing, when he was a child. The video for "Testify," the set's second single, was nominated for a 2012 Juno. Doyle and Great Big Sea guested on the song "It's Friday" by Canadian country artist Dean Brody on his 2012 album Dirt.
Doyle is also an author, publishing a book-length account of his youth in Newfoundland and Labrador entitled Where I Belong in 2014. His second solo album, So Let's Go, followed in January 2015; it peaked at number 13 in Canada. Two years later he not only guest-starred in the Murdoch Mysteries episode "A Murdog Mystery," but was awarded the title of Member of the Order of Canada, cited "for his contributions to the musical traditions of his home province and for his commitment to numerous local charitable initiatives." He issued his third solo offering, A Week at the Warehouse, in October of that year; it charted at number 26 on the Canadian album charts. His second book, A Newfoundlander in Canada: Always Going Somewhere, Always Coming Home, was published to coincide with the album's release.
Doyle kicked off the next decade with Rough Side Out, his first solo EP, which featured guest spots from country singers Jess Moskaluke and former collaborator Dean Brody. ~ Steve Leggett