May 26th, 2024

Alan Doyle moves toward country with ‘Rough’ outing

By Chris Brown on February 21, 2020.

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Alan Doyle will be at the Esplanade on Feb. 26 with special guest Kelly Prescott. The former lead singer of Great Big Sea, Doyle’s new EP “Rough Side Out” sees him dip his toes into country music and features appearances by Dean Brody and Jess Moskaluke.

If there’s one thing everybody knows about Alan Doyle it’s that he’s from Newfoundland.

So that means there’s actually a second thing everybody knows about Alan Doyle – that he knows how to have a good time.

The former Great Big Sea frontman is going to have and give a good time on Wednesday at the Esplanade.

“That’s one of the most important things to me is people come out to the concert and give me their night,” Doyle said last month. “I feel like it’s a contract that I have to honour. I’ve asked people to give me their time so I’ve got to give them the best night out that I can.”

Though only seven songs long, his new EP “Rough Side Out” has all the ingredients for a great night out. It starts with “We’re Gonna Love Tonight” and then goes into “We Don’t Wanna Go Home,” which has been making the rounds on radio since November.

Doyle would love it if that became the next timeless country anthem.

“It’s a great fun song and as I’ve been telling people it’s pretty much a verbatim conversation that I have had standing at the edge of a bar at late night when the musicians just show up because we’ve just finished playing,” he said. “I don’t know how many times I’ve stood in front of a bartender begging them to keep it open for one more drink because we just got there.”

Another song on the EP is “Anywhere You Wanna Go,” which Doyle says is about his time as a pub singer on the famous George Street in St. John’s, Nfld. It was there he started his career when he was about 18 years old and he says the job was simply “to keep that night moving and sing whatever that night wants done.”

Looking back Doyle can see the great opportunity he had there and be a part of so many people’s night out. When he started travelling as he career took off he was shocked to learn George Street is pretty unique to St. John’s.

“I guess I just didn’t realize how lucky I was to be not just engaged but employed for that long playing music. I kind of took it for granted to be honest.”

“Rough Side Out” is full of songs that are dear to Doyle’s heart and see him dipping his toes into country music with some of Canada’s biggest stars. “We Don’t Wanna Go Home” features fellow East Coast native Dean Brody and “What the Whiskey Won’t Do” is a duet with Jess Moskaluke. It’s been a natural evolution to country, said Doyle, and one that started when he and the Great Big Sea guys played on “It’s Friday” with Brody in 2012.

“We helped produce that song and bring sort of a Celtic, downtown St. John’s vibe to it and I started to discover really how much similarity there was between Canadian country music and Newfoundland music in the instrumentation and the vibe and the sense and all that stuff.”

Doyle has never been one to make plans for his music, saying he prefers to “let my whimsy take me there one way or the other.” So, could a phone call to Drake be up soon?

“Who knows,” Doyle said, laughing.

Tickets are available at, by calling 403-502-8777 or in person at the Esplanade box office or the Medicine Hat Mall customer service desk.

Show time is 8 p.m. Kelly Prescott will be a special guest at the show.

A Dollar A Day Foundation

He knows how to have a good time, but that’s not all Alan Doyle knows. He also knows giving back.

Doyle and a couple of friends created A Dollar A Day a couple of years ago to help mental health and addictions facilities across Canada.

“If people want to give a dollar today or tomorrow or everyday we’ll take those dollars and give them to a mental health or addictions facility close to you that is already doing great work,” Doyle explained. “We’ve given about a quarter million dollars already and I’m quite proud and satisfied to be art of the solution and part of the movement where people get involve in their own community’s mental health.”

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