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alan doyle


Alan Doyle kills me DED FROM SWOON, 5/22/2012

Those Francophone boys I’ve fallen in love with these past many months may have been heavily distracting me, but I’m tellin’ ya, people, when it comes to downright ability to take me right out at the knees, The Doyle Himself is still unparalleled. I still prefer him in the company of Great Big Sea, just because the classic style of GBS music–i.e., the irrepressible, roar-at-the-top-of-your-lungs trad–is more my thing than his solo style.

But that said, Alan Doyle by himself is still pretty damned swoonable, and we did have great fun at the Tractor last night. Dara and I got up by the stage, right in front of Alan’s mike, along with fellow fangirls Jaime and Sara. I’d never been to a show at the Tractor Tavern before, and it was an amazing switch from what I’m used to these days, with Great Big Sea playing the Moore.

Alan’s opening act was this young man named Dustin Bentall, and he was good, but I was more actively impressed by Kendall Carson, the fiddle player who first played with him and then with Alan’s full band. She was GREAT.

Then of course Alan came out and we all went nuts. I’m still getting to know the material on his new album, so except when he jumped over to do a few Great Big Sea songs, I was mostly singing along on what choruses I could pick up. Until he got to the part of the show when he was taking Twitter requests. Of which there were three.

I, being, well, me, asked him for “Trois Navires de Ble” (because yeah, spot the girl in this audience who’s been passionately absorbing French Canadian music the last many months, wut?) or “alternately, anything by Elvis” (because I’ve been dying for years to hear Alan sing something by him). Dara, being Dara, promptly decided to ALSO ask for “anything by Elvis”, and got Jaime and Sara to do so too, just so we could twitterbomb Alan in the hopes of getting him to make a joke about it.

We didn’t expect him to actually take us up on it. He made a wry crack about how “there was some collusion” in the audience, at which point the four of us all shrieked happily.

And then this happened. And I died DED OF SWOON. This is Lynda Elstad’s video of the full song.

And THIS is Dara’s version, which is much grainier and isn’t the full song, but DOES have cuts to me for reaction shots of OMG OMG OMG OMG. Note how I keep biting my hand. This is because I’m trying desperately not to squeal at the top of my lungs, or maybe trying to keep from dropping dead RIGHT THERE ON THE SPOT, because O. M. G., Internets, Alan Doyle sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” because we asked him to.

Sara and Jaime shoved me right up in front of them–I’d been standing behind them up until this point–and kept holding my arms to make sure I wasn’t about to keel over. They and Dara told me after that my eyes were HUGE.

The rest of the show, it was great and all (and I DID quite like Alan’s cover of Russell Crowe’s song “Testify”, which was rockin’), but none of it topped this: being right in front of Alan’s mike as he crooned an Elvis song. And not just any Elvis song–the seminal, most swoonable, most iconic Elvis song ever. And I sang harmony back at him, because good gods how could I not? And my eyes were full of stars.

ETA: And I had to add in a couple other comments about the show as I remembered them, just because for reasons I can’t get into yet aside from this show, THIS WEEK HAS BEEN AWESOME and my brain is quite scattered!

Awesome thing #1: Alan kept having trouble tuning his mandolin, and made a joke about how ‘I LOVE WATCHING PEOPLE TUNE THEIR INSTRUMENTS!’ Dara yelled back at him, “We tune because we care!” And he heard her and agreed, “We tune because we care!”

Awesome thing #2: Alan also kept making charmingly self-deprecating jokes about how as we were the very first show of the very first tour of the Alan Doyle Band, we got to see all the screwups and “the terror in our eyes”, and how in four or five more shows they’d get everything right, but we were getting all the good stuff. Also he kept repeating how “there’s only one first night!” When he joked about wondering “oh God what have I done?”, a guy in the audience yelled back, “Something awesome!” And Alan was all “I feel the love in the room!”

Awesome thing #3: Being that close to Alan meant I got a good look at the guitar strap he was using, a leather one, with his name embroidered on it in green down near where it connected with the neck of his guitar! And it was pretty cool seeing him play mandolin, even if I lamented the lack of his usual bouzouki.

Awesome thing #4: At the end of the show, Alan looked out at us all and said he saw several familiar faces, all of us who’ve loyally come to Great Big Sea shows. (heart) (heart)

Great Big Sea

Alan Doyle! May 22nd! The Tractor Tavern in Seattle! BE THERE!

And speaking of things that will involve so much awesome they will violate all laws of space and time, the most belovedest of my beloved B’ys, The Doyle Himself, is about to launch his solo tour for his forthcoming album. First stop?

RIGHT HERE IN SEATTLE, BABY! At the Tractor Tavern! 😀

Be advised that tickets go on presale TOMORROW AT 10AM for members! If you’re in my usual social circles you’ve already seen me squealing about this all over the Net today, and you may have been been emailed to check on your level of interest in this show! userinfosolarbird will be buying tickets on my behalf tomorrow at 10am sharp, since it conflicts with my morning standup meeting at work. If you haven’t already checked in with me and you want in on this ticket purchase, let me know NOW!

If you’re going to be at the show anyway, please let me know as well because I’d love to look for known faces, and because showing our support for Alan in as big a group as possible will ROCK!


Day of Bouzouki Player Awesomeness, Part 2

So yeah! Those Beaudry boys? Making a powerful showing today. But they have their work cut out for them when it comes to the OTHER bouzouki player I adore. 😉 (Well, the other one who isn’t like, y’know, my partner and stuff, she said, looking meaningfully at userinfosolarbird…)

Y’all saw my post asking for Newfoundland band recs, right? So this morning, I think to myself–what the hell, I’ll go straight to the source. Alan, Bob, and Sean are on Twitter, I’ll ask them what THEY think we should be listening to while they’re on hiatus!

This was the result. \0/

What what wait that actually WORKED?

What what wait that actually WORKED?

The Doyle Has Spoken

The Doyle Has Spoken

I leave it as an exercise for you, O Internets, as to exactly how high-pitched my squee went. (Remember: I’m a piccolo player!)

I proceeded to get in several more Newfoundland band recs from Twitter folk as well, but as promised to The Doyle, I went and promptly checked out The Once. They are notable because Mr. Bob Hallett himself is their manager, so of course big ol’ GBS connection right there. I’ve now listened to the samples of their first album on iTunes, and yeah, I’ll be buying this. Their lead singer has a lovely voice, and while they don’t have the kind of raucous energy I love so much about the B’ys, they are very, very good. They remind me a lot more of oh, say, Solas, and that’s good, because I like Solas! And I’ll be making a definite point of checking out their new album when it drops next month!

For general reference, the other artists and bands that have been thrown at me on Twitter to check out are: Amelia Curran, Jim Fidler, the Novaks, Matthew Hornell, Hey Rosetta! (who I actually already previously knew about but had not checked out in depth), Andrew James O’Brien, Tarahan, and the Navigators (who I again also previously knew about).

Many thanks to @GBSIndyFan and @barbekresla, who threw me the Twitter recs!

Not all of these acts are trad–the Novaks appear to be more rock, and iTunes seems to think Jim Fidler is reggae. Dunno about Matthew Hornell or Amelia Curran yet either. But I’m going to give them all a shot! (Though in the case of the Navigators, I’m apparently going to have to work a little harder because their albums are not on iTunes.)

So yeah! Great big pile of Newfoundland band recs! And a tweet from The Doyle Himself! What a way to end a week! \0/

Great Big Sea

Great Big Sea at the Moore in Seattle, 3/12/2011 (Part 3 of 3)

In which our heroine is super-late posting the last bit of the concert writeup from the 12th, she admits! But I beg your indulgence, my fellow GBS fans, for lo, I have been stricken this last week or so with the plague. STRICKEN, I tell you. Handsome and talented as The Doyle is, not even he can make me string coherent thoughts together when I’m in a Sudafed-and-Nyquil-induced coma. And I’m assuming y’all want me to finish this report off with something a bit more substantial than “mmmm Alan is so pretty mmmm”, anyway!

Continue Reading


On better notes (several, actually)

I continue to be somewhat intimidated by the Serious Business(TM) level of musicians that show up for the sessions at A Terrible Beauty. We had two more show up last night, one lady named Beth who’s a local harpist and flautist, who has taught harp in Ireland, and who has played with a local folk band, and another lady (whose name I have sadly forgotten) who had a pretty awesome looking instrument that was either a mandobanjo or a banjolin (userinfosolarbird said ‘mandobanjo’; all I know is, it was pretty cool).

The intimidating part for me here was that both of them very, VERY clearly knew what they were doing and could hear the places where I was screwing up. On the other hand, they were also very kind about cluing me in as to when we all went into a key I had a hard time recognizing by ear, or when chord changes I hadn’t quite grasped were happening. I had the strange reaction to this of being simultaneously prickly and grateful for it–a feeling I think any of my fellow authors will recognize when somebody offers you beta reading advice you’re not entirely convinced you need, and then you get over it and realize that actually, yeah, you did kinda need that. I’m here to tell y’all, it applies to music, too. *^_^*;;

That said, it was good to finally have some of the pieces Matt and Annie like to get into identified as having parts in the key of B minor. This is NOT a key I’ve played in before that I can recall, at all, even with a capo on and faking it by doing the base chords of G or A. The good part of this was, though, that I have enough chord exposure now that I could pick out the base chords I needed once the key was identified. I.e., a lot of B minor and A, with occasional D’s and E’s and F# minors thrown in for good measure, all of which are chords I can play at this point. The tricky part is just being able to recognize that key by ear when I hear it.

It was also vaguely intimidating to see the newcomers clearly not quite knowing what to make of me and Dara belting out our version of “Old Black Rum”. This is what we get for the songs we know being either GBS, GBS-influenced in style, or Dara’s very own unique concoctions, none of which are exactly “Irish”. I continue to be very grateful to Matt and Annie for indulging us periodically and inviting us to sing, and at least it gave me another chance to make the “well, Newfoundland is NEAR Ireland” joke. 😉 Also, it gave Dara and me a chance to show off singing in harmony, which we’ve actually been practicing a bit, and which I feel works for us!

Still though I must start learning some songs (and I specifically mean ‘songs’ as opposed to ‘tunes’, i.e., stuff with words) that would fit better in a session environment. I’ve already mentioned the ones I’m interested in, I think–I just need to allocate practice time for them, in between rehearsing with Dara on her stuff so that I can play support for her at Norwescon. To wit: *gulp*. Yeah, I know, I’ve already been playing the guitar in public for a while thanks to these sessions, but being part of a formal set with Dara is not the same thing. *^_^*;; Playing at a session is ‘hanging out with fellow musicians and learning from them’. Playing a formal set is performing.

Meanwhile though I was very grateful as well to Annie for giving me a listening ear before we got started–as well as for introducing me to a drink called the Irish Truffle, which is Guinness mixed with raspberry lambic! I’ve tried Guinness before and hadn’t cared for it, but if you mix it up with raspberry lambic I suddenly find it quite drinkable. Those of you who have been following my ongoing admiration of the Lovely and Talented Pike Place Marketboys will be familiar with my affection for raspberry-related things. This has now been expanded to include ‘booze’.

Giggles as well to userinfosolcita, who made cracks about how we’d better be careful if we wanted to set an empty chair in the session circle in honor of GBS–because I’d still hyperventilate even for Imaginary Alan Doyle. She is, of course, entirely correct, given that it is scientifically proven that I hyperventilate for real Alan Doyle.

(This has led today on Facebook to userinfofredpdx making cracks about how, given that I’m a proud owner of the Alan Doyle Action Figure, complete with bouzouki and Hair Tossing Action, I’d be over the whole hyperventilating thing by now. Which made me LOL. And also made me really, REALLY wish that there was in fact an Alan Doyle Action Figure. Because you know I’d BUY IT.)

So yeah. Session homework for me: figure out how the hell to play and sing “As I Roved Out”, in whatever key I can manage. So I can have something a bit more Irish on hand next time Matt asks me to sing!

And also, for those of you who may be interested, the aforementioned Beth is Beth Kollé, and she was in a Seattle-based folk band called Crookshank a couple years back. They have an EP on iTunes, and I may just have to check it out.

Great Big Sea

Speaking of the guitar pick of awesomeness

There’s a ridiculous amount of fangirly glee I can get out of something as simple as a well-used guitar pick!

I am not a professional guitarist by any stretch of the imagination; I’m barely at the level of competent amateur, really, and then only because I can play decent rhythm on a small set of songs, and slightly more complex stuff on exactly one song so far. But, that said? I know just enough to be able to make some fun guesses about the guitar pick userinfosksouth snagged for me at the GBS show!

I don’t know how fast The Doyle goes through his picks, or whether this one was new going into the show–but if it was, he played the hell out of it. The tip of it as well as a good bit of one edge are worn quite ragged, and part of the words beneath the logo are worn off. I get this kind of wear and tear on my own picks after I’ve played with them, but only after a while; I suspect this is a function of the fact that a) I don’t play that often, b) I play on a nylon-stringed instrument, and c) I don’t play with anything resembling the amount of power that Alan Doyle does! Metal strings would tear up picks a lot faster, of course. I have observed this directly with any pick I play with for a while on my zouk or my octave mandolin.

I’m amused though to note the thickness of the pick as well. It’s pretty thin as guitar picks go and comparable to several I’ve got. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this exact brand of guitar pick either at Trading Musician or at Dusty Strings, too. The logo on it is familiar!

I have had it suggested to me that I should frame this thing. My immediate plan for it is, I think, to use it for exactly one purpose: getting footage of me playing the guitar for our little contest video. And hope that maybe some of Alan’s guitar fu may wear off.

Then I’m going to put this thing safely away so I won’t lose it. 😀