Alan Doyle: Five Interesting Facts

Canadian musician and actor Alan Doyle enters the literary world with his new memoir, titled Where I Belong. Doyle has described his work as a “rowdy journey through the cod tongues, altars, girls and guitars of my young life in Petty Harbour.” Already a lyrical storyteller as front man of the band Great Big Sea, he describes his transition from writing music to writing a book as “natural and enlightening.”

Doyle will be joining us for an intimate evening on Granville Island on November 13th. In anticipation, get to know a bit more about him with these five interesting facts.

  1. A prequel to his musical adventure. In Where I Belong, Alan paints a vivid portrait of a curious young man born in the small coastal fishing community of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. Focusing on the time period before his break into the music world, his memoir tells of a childhood surrounded by larger-than-life characters that have made a lasting impression.

  2. A place on the big screen. Primarily known for his music career as lead singer of Great Big Sea, Doyle has also found success as an actor. After becoming friends with Russell Crowe, Doyle joined him on screen to play a troubadour in the blockbuster film Robin Hood. He joined Crowe on screen again recently, in the fantasy-romance film, Winter’s Tale. While Crowe’s acting chops have rubbed off on Doyle, the two have also collaborated off-screen  with Doyle co-writing and producing several songs on Crowe’s album and working together on a song for Doyle’s first solo album, Boy on Bridge.

  3. Rely on your roots. Doyle has been praised for his ability to pay tribute and respect the purveyors of folk music that came before him, and his memoir explores the importance of personal history. Where I Belong is filled with the lore and traditions of the East Coast and told in a voice that is refreshingly candid. This is a narrative journey about small-town life, curiosity and creative fulfillment. During a 2012 interview with George Stroumboulopoulos, Doyle put it this way: “Newfoundlanders are funny and good natured because we’re so used to dealing with hard times.”

  4. A great big heart. “I’ve been super duper lucky and most of that luck has come from support from the general public,” he says. “They could have listened to any band, they could have bought anybody’s record, but they came to my concert and bought mine. I have been given an amazing life. I feel compelled whenever I can to try to repay that debt.” Volunteering his time at over 15 different organizations, Doyle often plays fundraisers, benefit concerts and is on the board of directors for Daffodil Palace, which helped raise $7M for St. John’s cancer patients in need of long-term care.

  5. Boy on Bridge. This is the title of his 2012 debut solo album and takes its name from an isolated place in Petty Harbour that Doyle often found himself day dreaming at as a child. But he also discovered a happy coincidence for the name – Doyle played an extra as a child in a TV movie titled A Whale for the Killing, where he was credited as “Boy on Bridge.” The album is “a snap shot of fun adventures” ranging from Nashville with Gordie Sampson, to Northern Ontario with Hawksley Workman, to Los Angeles and St. John’s.

Alan Doyle will appear in a Writers Fest special event on November 13th, 2014. Click here for event details and to purchase tickets.

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