MCCann fills the stage with ‘the power of one’

Séan McCann once stood on the brink of destruction, although he stepped back from it and is still alive to tell the tale.

Mark Allan

Special to the Record

Séan McCann once stood on the brink of destruction, although he stepped back from it and is still alive to tell the tale.

So he does.

One of the two frontmen for iconic Newfoundland party band Great Big Sea, McCann brings his songs and stories to the Sid Williams Theatre on Oct. 4.

“In typically Newfoundland fashion,” he moved to Ottawa last fall to be closer to his work, he says in an interview from the nation’s capital. “When I moved here, I knew I had 60 shows waiting in Ontario.”

He acknowledges it was also a “good idea to get away from old habits.”

That would refer to his days of touring the world with GBS, an alcoholic in the middle of an alcohol-fuelled lifestyle.

“Great Big Sea was a show. It was a good show. It was a party band, and it was a great party band.

“Unfortunately for me, that was a very unhealthy place to be as an alcoholic. When I quit drinking, certainly the (tour) bus didn’t, so I had a really hard time.”

Getting beyond GBS involved some epiphanies.

“Once I peeled away the layers of my past and faced it, there was a sense of dealing with things on an honest level and moving beyond denial. That’s reflected in the way I write now.

“I just try to be very sincere, and very direct, and say something, say something that matters, say something real.”

His performances, he explains, go over well with audiences.

“It turns out it is a good show. People enjoy the journey I take them on, and I enjoy it every night.”

The native of Carbonear, Nfld., a town of fishermen and shipbuilders with a population of barely 5,000 plays these days in theatres that seat only a few hundred people, and that’s fine with him.

“For a long time, I was very unhappy on the big stage. I don’t care if I ever do another hockey rink again.

“I do folk festivals, but I like the intimate connection I can make by myself on a smaller stage in a smaller theatre like the Sid Williams in Courtenay.”

His show these days is “the power of one. I get up with my guitar and the focus is on the lyric. The message is in the songs.”

While he still does some GBS tunes, “I wouldn’t describe myself as a Maritime show. It’s not very Celtic, although I do take requests.”

Living in the moment and not being beholden to a set list, McCann’s performances are dominated neither by the troubled times in his life nor the happy ones.

“Music is strong medicine,” he states. “It certainly got me through the early stages of my own recovery.

“In my show, I tend to tell the truth, my truth, and I find it resonates with people.

“If the guy from Great Big Sea can quit drinking, anybody can. I’ve learned I’m not alone. So many people can relate to what happened to me and what I talk about.”

McCann has become a popular speaker talking about being a childhood victim of sexual abuse by a priest and a recovering alcoholic.

He shares what he calls his Help Your Self concept, stemming from his album of the same name.

For more about McCann, visit www.seanmccannsings.com.

Séan McCann performs Oct. 4 at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay.

The 2016–2017 Blue Circle Series is proudly presented by Odlum Brown Limited.

For concert details and tickets, visit www.sidwilliamstheatre.com, phone 250-338-2430 or visit 442 Cliffe Ave.

Just Posted

Large turnout for Cumberland climate strike

Approximately 200 people showed up at the village office in Cumberland to… Continue reading

Second environmental march coming to Courtenay Sept. 27

March organized by the Youth Environment Action team

Commemorative plaque stolen from Sandwick Cairn in Courtenay

The peacekeepers plaque has been stolen from the Sandwick Cairn on Dingwall… Continue reading

Painter Fiona Ackerman starts North Island College fall 2019 Artist Talk Series

Acclaimed Vancouver-based painter Fiona Ackerman will join North Island College as the… Continue reading

Comox Valley Record readers ‘Take us Along’ on holidays

When it comes to spreading the news, readers of the Comox Valley… Continue reading

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read