Alan Doyle and a talented slew of fellow musicians join forces to create inspirational ‘Songs from Home’ proving that isolation doesn’t have to be a solo gig
Songs From Home was created in isolation with Fortunate Ones, The Ennis Sister, The Once and Rachel Cousins.
It’s something Alan Doyle is proud of. “When you get an opportunity to work with The Ennis Sisters or Rachel Cousins and The Once and Fortunate Ones, you do. Connecting with immense talent from home is always great,” he opens.
‘Off the charts’
The Ennis Sisters always surprise him, he says. “I did a lot of work with the sisters over the last dozen years or whatever and they’re amazing, you know? I laugh at them all the time because they have no idea that what they do instinctively is extremely difficult. But they think it’s just what they do. And they’ve been doing it so long that it’s just second nature to them. But their skill set is literally off the charts and they don’t even know it. So I find that charming and great.”
Doyle is generous with his praise.
“Andrew and (Catherine), Fortunate Ones, I think they are two of our greatest young songwriters. And their combination of voices is incredible. And then, of course, you have The Once who are otherworldly in their vocal talent and their presentation is just so peaceful and beautiful. And then in the middle of it, (Geraldine) sings. You could just give them the phone book and you’d sit there for an hour and a half and listen to them sing. And then Rachel Cousins is one of the most promising young stars in the province.”
When the idea of working together presented itself, Doyle says he jumped at the chance.
“When that idea got floated with MusicNL helping to spearhead a project that would connect people during a time when it’s difficult to be connected and we had an opportunity to share each other’s knowledge … and to discover what was possible from your own home studio and then release it worldwide, we just did it,” he says.
The livestream of the launch was incredible with people from 28 countries watching.
“That was the whole notion, and so it’s thrilling, because you get a chance to take some of the stuff I would have learned about remote recording in the trailer on the Robin Hood set when I was linked to a composer who was in Germany … and I’ve been working from my own studio here with people in Sweden, Australia, Nashville, Vancouver, and Toronto for years, but then to bring all that to these other bands and artists and say, ‘look, there’s ways we can do this,’ is thrilling. But then to take that and show the world what Newfoundland and Labrador musicians are capable of in the best of times and in the worst of times, it was quite a privilege.”
Rough side out
Since we’re talking music, the powerful song, What the Whiskey Won’t Do off Rough Side Out featuring Jess Moskaluke, has to be mentioned.
“I love that song. Thank you very much for bringing it up. I love it. I really do. And Jess? She’s beautiful, she’s amazing. That song is interesting because, in the songwriter world, I think people always think of writing songs as being some version of struck by lightning or something.”
Doyle has had the title in his head for quite a while. Doyle knew he’d be in Nashville and he wanted to work on it there. He brought it up and they went from there.
“About 20 minutes later we had the song … I just couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a song called What the Whiskey Won’t Do and I’m so grateful that Jess agreed to sing with me because her instrument is just crazy, crazy, crazy good.”