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Great Big Sea

Great Big Sea (often shortened to GBS) is a Canadian folk-rock band from Newfoundland and Labrador, best known for performing energetic rock interpretations of traditional Newfoundland folk songs including sea shanties, which draw from the island's 500-year-old Irish, English, and French heritage. The band also performs original material.

History

The band played its first official gig on March 11, 1993, opening for the Irish Descendants at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. The founding band members included Alan Doyle (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin), Séan McCann (vocals, bodhrán, guitar, tin whistle), Darrell Power (vocals, bass, guitar, bones), and Bob Hallett (vocals, fiddle, accordion, mandolin, concertina, bouzouki, whistles, bagpipes). Power, McCann and Hallett had already been playing together with a woman named Jackie St. Croix in a band called "Rankin Street." According to Doyle, Rankin Street owned a PA, and he owned a van, which made Great Big Sea "a match made in heaven.. They toured nearly constantly for the band's first several years, sometimes travelling as many as 300 days a year.

Power retired from Great Big Sea in 2003 to spend more time with his family and friends. Supporting members of the band include Canadian freelance drummer Kris MacFarlane (2002) (drums, accordion, guitar, backing vocals) and Murray Foster (2003, formerly of the band Moxy Früvous) (bass, backing vocals).

The band won the Entertainer of the Year award at the East Coast Music Awards for every year between 1996 and 2000. In 2001, they decided not to submit their name for nomination in order to allow other bands to compete. They have also been nominated for several Juno Awards, including Group of the Year in 1998 and 2005.

In the 2000 Canadian Federal Election, controversy occurred when Stockwell Day and the Canadian Alliance used the band's hit single, "Ordinary Day", at a rally without their permission. The band noted that this was a copyright violation and ordered that Day cease using the song for campaigning purposes.

Great Big Sea's first concert DVD and videos collection, the Great Big DVD, saw release in Canada and the United States in 2003 and Europe in 2004.

In late 2005, the band released its long-awaited "traditional" album, The Hard and the Easy, on which they recorded their favourite Newfoundland party songs. The title of the album comes from a line of the song "Tickle Cove Pond", one of two songs on the album about a horse falling through ice.

Also in late 2005, Great Big Sea released its first podcast, with clips of the band bantering back and forth in the studio mixed with various songs by them and other artists. They have since released several podcasts.

On February 9, 2006, the band's tour bus tipped on its side into a ditch on the Trans-Canada Highway about 80 kilometres east of Vancouver near Abbotsford. Their driver suffered minor head injuries, but everyone in the band was unhurt. The band went on to continue their tour including their performance that evening at The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts just hours after the accident.

On November 21, 2006, the band released their second concert DVD, Courage & Patience & Grit, recorded in Belleville, Ontario. It is also the second release by the band to be titled by a line from their 2005 song, "Tickle Cove Pond".

On June 13, 2007, the band stated that they are going to be going back into the studio during the late summer to early fall to record new material for a new album. It will be produced by Hawksley Workman, and should be released in June 2008.

On March 14, 2008, the band announced that the title of their new album would be Fortune's Favour, borrowing a phrase from one of the songs on the album, "England". Prior to the release, a few of the songs that were eventually included on the album were played at live concerts, including "Love Me Tonight", "Walk on the Moon" "The Rocks of Merasheen", "Straight To Hell", and "Oh Yeah". On April 17, 2008, the band's website announced that the first single from Fortune's Favour would be "Walk on the Moon". People who pre-ordered the album from the band's official website were also treated to exclusive digital downloads of the songs "Belong (A Capella)" and "Gallow's Pole". The album was officially released on June 24, 2008 across all of North America.

Discography

Albums

Year Album Chart Positions CRIA
CAN World
1993 Great Big Sea Gold
1995 Up 45 4× Platinum
1997 Play 9 3× Platinum
1998 Rant and Roar
1999 Turn 9 Platinum
2000 Road Rage (live) 9 Gold
2002 Sea of No Cares 1 7 Platinum
2004 Something Beautiful* 4 3 Gold
Great Big DVD and CD
2005 The Hard and the Easy 3 2 Gold
2006 Courage & Patience & Grit (live)
2008 Fortune's Favour 5

Singles

Year Title Chart Positions Album
CAN AC CAN
1995 "Run Runaway" Up
1996 "Fast as I Can" 46 40
"Mari-Mac"
"Goin' Up" 53 70
1997 "When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down)" 13 6 Play
"Ordinary Day" 3 30
1998 "End of the World" 9 24
"Lukey" Fire in the Kitchen
"How Did We Get From Saying 'I Love You'..." 23 Play
1999 "Consequence Free" 7 18 Turn
"Feel It Turn" 38 65
2000 "Can't Stop Falling"
"Everything Shines" Road Rage
2002 "Sea of No Cares" Sea of No Cares
"Stumbling In"
"Clearest Indication"
2003 "Penelope"
2004 "When I Am King" Something Beautiful*
"Shines Right Through Me"
2005 "Captain Kidd" The Hard and the Easy
2006 "Come and I Will Sing for You (The Twelve Apostles)"
"Sea of No Cares (Live)" Courage & Patience & Grit
2008 "Walk on the Moon" 86 Fortune's Favour
"Love Me Tonight"A

  • ACurrent single.

DVD

Year Album CRIA
2003 Great Big DVD 3× Platinum
2006 Courage & Patience & Grit

Other releases

See also

References

External links

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