Interview and Concert Photos by Jason Setnyk.
Cornwall Ontario — September 19th, 2015 will bring two accomplished songwriters, Sean McCann of Great Big Sea and Graham Greer of the Barstool Prophets, together in Cornwall’s beautiful Aultsville Theatre for an intimate evening of songs and the stories that surround them.
Here is Jason Setnyk’s interview with former Great Big Sea member Sean McCann.
Five Questions with Sean McCann
1 – What was your fondest memory during your twenty years as a member of Great Big Sea?
My fondest memories are all from the very early days when it was just the 4 of us (with Darrell Power on bass) and we did everything by ourselves. We didn’t have an agent or a manager or a label, but we were still a force to be reckoned with. I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish when we were all working together towards the same goal.
2 – How is the recording process different post-GBS? What was it like working with Joel Plaskett who produced your debut album? How do these recordings better represent who you are / your vision / your message?
In my 20 years and 11 studio recordings with Great Big Sea, not one track was ever recorded “live off the floor” which is a shame because we were a great live band. Joel’s process was completely the opposite. Every Song was recorded live without digital assistance and immediately committed to 2 inch analog tape. There was no “Auto Tune” button. I was forced as an Artist to remain completely open and focused which is how I am trying to live my life today.
3 – How did growing up in St. John’s Newfoundland influence your music?
St. John’s is the New Orleans of Canada. It is made of music and liquor and my music was forged in that fire.
4 – In an interview with CBC you described some life changes, such as quitting drinking. How else has your life changed post-GBS? Have you found what you are looking for in life or is it an on going journey?
I am still looking and I have come to embrace the truth that I always will be. At least now I am wide awake so I can see where I am going and I am open and unafraid of whatever might be next.
5 – What can music fans expect from your show September 19th at Aultsville Theatre in Cornwall?
Fans can expect to experience a much lighter “me”. I am doing “the work” and am reconnecting with the world in a far more meaningful way. And I love my job.
Thank you for the interview Sean McCann.
Thank you Jason.
More about the Concert: Séan McCann’s love for Newfoundland and Labrador folk songs shot him to international fame as a founding member of the renowned group Great Big Sea. After millions of albums sold, countless hit songs, and record breaking tours around the world, Séan realized that his 20 years with the band had to stop. Music is meant to connect, heal, and bring happiness. While Séan was giving that to thousands of people a night he was slowly losing his own way. Instead of seeking truth he was hiding behind his music. This was unfair to both himself and his fans so he left the band and started over.
In January 2014 Séan released his first post-GBS album. Produced by Joel Plaskett, “Help Your Self” is the sound of a man facing his demons and ultimately overcoming them. The songs helped him deal with his issues of addiction and abuse and showed him how to find strength in pain. It reminded him of the power of music which at one time would have been used to cast a Friday night spell over a sold out hockey arena on a Monday, but now finds him touring the country as a solo artist in intimate venues where he can sincerely connect with his audience in the way he always hoped to—face to face. Séan has also found himself using music as therapy, working with people who face physical, mental, and addiction challenges, and has become a sought after speaker trying to help others to help themselves find light through the darkness.
Séan’s journey to find his own peace, love, and happiness has continued through his new music. “You Know I Love You” (also produced by Joel Plaskett) is a joyous collection of songs sung by a man intent on sharing his joy directly with you…and with each song represented on the album and his website by vibrant original pieces of visual art by singer/songwriter Meaghan Smith, Séan is trying to find a balance somewhere between analog and Tinder in a world where the connection we all want can’t seem to keep up with technology.
While Cornwall resident Graham Greer is an award-winning songwriter (New York Songwriters Circle, Nashville Songwriters Association) with two solo records to his name so far (2003’s ‘Moonlight Graham-Palookaville’ and 2009’s self-titled release) he is arguably best-known as the energetic frontman/songwriter for the Canadian rock band Barstool Prophets. While winning over hordes of fans with their powerful live performances in the mid-90’s, their clever lyrics and relentless guitar-based songs permeated Canadian rock radio, Muchmusic and MTV in the United States via 2 releases while signed to Mercury Records in Canada and the USA – 1995’s ‘Crank’ and 997’s ‘Last of the Big Game Hunters’. Charting singles from these records included Mankindman, Paranoia, Little Death, Last of the Big Game Hunters, Upsidedown, and their final single which went on to crack the pop charts, Friend of Mine.
Barstool Prophets officially disbanded in 1999, but they have recently reunited for select concerts celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the release of ‘Crank’ including a wonderful sold out show at the gorgeous new Shenkman Centre in Ottawa, ON in February of 2015. More theatre dates are in the works, but meanwhile the demand for Graham’s performances as a solo artist continue unabated as he shapes and crafts songs for a new solo project due for release in the spring of 2016.Reserved seating tickets are on sale now for $25.00 plus applicable surcharges. Tickets are available in person at the Cornwall Civic Complex Box Office or by phone at 613-938-9400. You can also by tickets online: www.admission.com (search ‘Sean McCann’). Tickets will also be available at the Aultsville Theatre box office one hour before show time (subject to availability).