Great Big Sea: Wikis


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Great Big Sea

Background information
Origin St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Genres Celtic rock
Years active 1993-Present
Labels Warner Music Canada
Rounder Records USA
Associated acts Murray Foster
Kris MacFarlane
Alan Doyle
Séan McCann
Bob Hallett
Former members
Darrell Power

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.



The band played its first official gig on March 11, 1993, opening for the Irish Descendants at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's, Newfoundland.[1] 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". The band found its name as original bassist Jeff Scott rented an apartment on Rankin Street, St. John's, where the members first met and discussed the formation of the band. In the winter of 1989 the band, a six piece with guitar, bass, fiddle, accordion and mandolin played its first ever gig, two songs, at the Memorial University's winter carnival talent show under the name "Newfoundland Republican Army" or NRA, and won first prize. The band's only other appearance as NRA was later that winter at the university "Grad House". The band then dropped the fiddler, accordion player and the name.

As a four piece, the band first appeared as "Rankin Street" at a little pub in downtown St. John's called "The Rose and Thistle", playing for $100 and beer. For the first gig the band played through Sean McCann's stereo system as renting a PA would be more than the night's earnings. Susan Hickey (guitar and vocals) left the band months later to attend school in Halifax and was replaced by Darrell Power. The band gained much popularity playing such local pubs as Bridgettes and Greensleeves. In 1991 Jeff Scott was replaced by Jackie St. Croix on bass. The band released one recording on cassette titled "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."[2]. 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.[3] 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.[4] 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,[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

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 announced they would return to the studio with producer Hawksley Workman. On March 14, 2008, the band announced that the title of the 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.


Ships and Dip

The band joined two fan cruises called "Ships and Dip III" January 27 - February 1, 2008, and "Ships and Dip V" February 1 - February 6 2009, both hosted by Barenaked Ladies. The artists on Ships and Dip remain onboard for the duration of the cruise (other than shore days), in contrast to some cruises where the artist or artists travel separately to one of the cruise destinations and perform there, or join the cruise for only a portion of the trip. Band members enjoy other artists' shows and the ship's amenities freely with the other guests. Great Big Sea performs several full shows on each cruise.

Other artists who performed on for "Ships and Dip V" include The New Odds, Sloan, Butterfly Boucher, The Weakerthans, Gaelic Storm, Boothby Graffoe and many others including Barenaked Ladies side projects The Brothers Creeggan, Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle and The Vanity Project. The ship also features stand-up comedy from Kids in the Hall members Dave Foley, and Kevin McDonald.


Studio albums

Year Album Chart Positions CRIA
1993 Great Big Sea Gold
1995 Up 45 4× Platinum
1997 Play 9 3× Platinum
1999 Turn 9 Platinum
2002 Sea of No Cares 1 Platinum
2004 Something Beautiful* 4 Gold
2005 The Hard and the Easy 3 Gold
2008 Fortune's Favour 5 Gold

Other albums

Year Album Chart Positions CRIA
1998 Rant and Roar (US only)
2000 Road Rage (live) 9 Gold
2004 Great Big DVD and CD (live)
2006 Courage & Patience & Grit (live)


Year Title Chart Positions Album
1995 "Run Runaway" Up
1996 "Fast as I Can" 46 40
"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 You (The Twelve Apostles)"
"Sea of No Cares (Live)" Courage & Patience & Grit
2008 "Walk on the Moon" 86 Fortune's Favour
"Love Me Tonight"
2009 "Here and Now"A
  • ACurrent single.


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

Other releases

See also


  1. ^ "CanadianBands".   Retrieved November 26, 2006
  2. ^ "Canehdian".   Retrieved November 26, 2006
  3. ^ "The Canadian Encyclopedia". TheCanadian   Retrieved November 26, 2006
  4. ^ "East Coast Music Awards inductees".   Retrieved November 26, 2006
  5. ^ "Juno Awards/Canadian Music Hall of Fame winner and nominations".   Retrieved November 26, 2006
  6. ^ 'Don't use our song,' Great Big Sea tells Day
  7. ^ "Inside the Great Big Sea tour bus crash".   Retrieved May 20, 2008

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Great Big Sea is a musical band from Newfoundland, Canada.



Something Beautiful (2004)

Let It Go

Got to leave it all behind you.
Give the sun a chance to find you.
Let it go.

Hey man, you don't know what you're missing.
You count your curses and forget about the blessings.
Don't you think you should learn a little lessson?

Something Beautiful

But every mountain has it's faces that'd make you want to stop
On this so unwelcome journey from the bottom to the top.

And there's one more thing I've come to know for sure.
There's no bitterness that smolders,
no chip on any shoulder,
that a random act of kindness couldn't cure.

When I Am King

Just like the final movie scene,
the prince will find his perfect queen.
The hero always saves the world.
The villains get what they deserve.
The boy will always get the girl
when I am king.

Sea of No Cares (2002)

Sea of No Cares

When you're in love,
there's no time and no space.
There's a permanent smile on your face

The Scolding Wife

Well, I came into a scolding wife a few short years ago
And ever since I lead a life of misery and woe
My wife she is a tyrant around the room and in
Ah, she'd sell me to the devil for a glass or two of gin.

And if the devil will take her,
I'd thank him for his pain.
I swear to God I'll hang me self if I get married again.

Up (1998)

Wave Over Wave

I've been the world over,
north, south, east and west,
But the middle of nowhere, where I likes it best.
Where it's wave over wave, sea over bow,
I'm as happy a man as the sea will allow.

I've sailed the world over for decades or more
And oft' times I wonder what I do it for.
I don't know the answer. It's pleasure and pain,
But with life to live over I'd do it again

Chemical Worker's Song (Process Man)

Well, a process man am I and I am telling you no lie
I work and breathe among the fumes that trail across the sky
There's thunder all around me and there's poison in the air
There's a lousy smell that smacks of hell and dust all in me hair

There's overtime and bonus opportunities galore.
The young men like their money and they all come back for more,
but soon your knocking on and you look older than you should
For every bob made on the job, you pay it with flesh and blood.

And every day you're in this place you're two days nearer death.

The Old Black Rum

And the old black rum's got a hold on me
Like a dog wrapped 'round my leg
And the old black rum's got a hold on me
Will I live for another day?

So I drank all of my money and I slept out in the rain
Every day is different, but the nights they're all the same
You never see the sun on the old black rum,
But I know I'm gonna do it again.

External links

Official Site


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