Nobody that I know has a stronger sense of community than people from Newfoundland. Maybe it's that Island thing, because I certainly feel it in P.E.I. and Cape Breton as well. But Newfoundlanders in particular never lose that visceral need to feel connected to their home.
Maybe that's why Alan Doyle and company felt compelled to take strength from their friends and fellow musicians from Newfoundland in this new six track E.P. A road warrior by any definition of the term, Doyle has spent the best part of the past quarter century either on tour or getting ready for the next one, so Covid put him off-kilter. He couldn't even hang with his musical friends at home thanks to the virus. He needed to rekindle that sense of community, to strengthen the bonds rather than let them slip away.
The result is this all-star set, featuring a track each from all five: Doyle, Fortunate Ones, The Ennis Sisters, Rachel Cousins and The Once. Plus, there's a final tune that features all of them, "It's OK," a reworking Doyle song from his last release, Rough Side Out. That was the only time the artists saw each during the process, working in a socially-distant recording session. Instead they formed a community around the common goal of this release, proving that there's always a way to connect.
These are some of the best singers from NL, whether it's solo, duo or trio, and all of the songs here reflect that, rich ballads with emotional vocals shining through each cut. Home comes into play often, mostly through missing it, or the spirit of it. It seems these travelling musicians all share that, whether it's the dreamy folk of The Once on "Lost Are Found," or Doyle's lonely hotel number from Nashvillle, "A Tennessee Whisky and a Newfoundland Song," which evokes Ron Hynes and "Sonny's Dream." It's going to be a long winter, and if any record can help you get through it, it's this one.