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Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies playing Riverfront Jubilee Sunday

Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies will perform at the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee on Sunday.
Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies will perform at the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee on Sunday.

Some people read books while travelling; Alan Doyle writes them.

The musician, best known as lead singer of Great Big Sea, is preparing to release his second book after the success of his 2014 memoir Where I Belong.

“Writing books is something you can take with you no matter where you’re going. It’s a great way to make airplane rides go quicker,” said Doyle during a recent interview ahead of his Sunday night performance with his band The Beautiful Gypsies, which includes Pictou County’s Kris MacFarlane on drums, at the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee.

He wasn’t sure what to expect as the reaction to his first book, so when it went well, he felt like writing another book, giving him another opportunity to do what he loves – telling stories – and a way to pass the time while travelling. He noted it made him realize how “incredibly lucky” he is to get to do what he does for a living.

It’s especially appropriate that A Newfoundlander in Canada: Always Going Somewhere, Always Coming Home was written on the road, as it shares stories of what Canada looked like from the Great Big Sea van when he was in his early 20s.

“The biggest part of the book is me discovering people and places across the country,” he said, adding that he would often compare things he saw to the only place he knew – home.

The book will be released in October, the same month his third solo album is set to come out.

A Week at The Warehouse was recorded “the old way,” live off the floor, with producer Bob Rock at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver.

Doyle said he and the band wanted to capture the “thing we all do night after night,” recreating the sound of the group live in concert.

It differs significantly from the way Boy on Bridge was made – which Doyle recorded in several different places, describing it as much as a travelogue as a record – and from the way So Let’s Go was recorded.

It’s been a busy year for Doyle, who was recently named to the Order of Canada for his commitment to culture and music.

“That was bizarre,” he said about hearing the news, noting that his manager called him and told him the Governor General’s office was looking for him.

Doyle said it was an honour to be included among the list of 99 Canadians receiving the appointments – announced on June 30 – which recognize “outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.”

“That’s a great pat on the back.”

Doyle, who hails from Petty Harbour in Newfoundland, says he’s excited to come back to this part of Nova Scotia, having last been here for the sell-out Great Big Sea show on the Jubilee stage in 2013.

“I find it both personally satisfying and rewarding to sing songs,” he said, adding that he loves giving people a great night out. He views it as a bit of a responsibility, noting ticketholders often have to find babysitters and drive or fly to performances. “I better give them a good night out. They went out of their way.”

Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies will be serving up a good night out on Sunday at the Jubilee. Matt Anderson and the Bona Fide as well as Fortunate Ones round out the line-up for the final evening of the music festival.

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