Canadian Navy, 11 Sep 2015
I was having not so good a year in 2015. I was still in the Navy, about a year into my divorce and trying to survive with the lawyer fees I had to pay. Although the world did not know it yet, I had gone to police for a statement of me being sexually abused as a kid by a family member. It was also the same year Bruce Springsteen came to Moncton and I couldn’t really afford a ticket too see him but really wanted too. Talk about your heart getting trampled by many different things coming in different directions. I think it was around this time I started watching this video on YouTube called unbreakable daily and adopted Bruce’s song “tougher than the rest” as an anthem. It was really tough.
It was under this backdrop that after a year of shit, that for my birthday I wanted to do something special. I had this idea that I wanted to play at the lower deck and sing a new song I wrote called the Canadian Navy. My mom who knew some of these troubles decided to visit me because she didn’t want me to be alone on my birthday. Whether by plan, fate or destiny CCMA’s also happened to be in Halifax that year.
I’ve been a huge Great Big Sea Fan most of my adult life and I saw them at UNBSJ when I was much too young to be there. Their album “Play” was a favourite and I especially liked Maritime music maybe because my ancestors are from a fishing village in Donegal Ireland, well one side of the family anyways. For some reason I have always felt tied to the sea and maybe for that same reason I joined the navy. Maybe it’s a similar reason I’m a huge Stan Rodgers fan as well, because so many of his songs are tied to the ocean and Celtic folklore.
So the powers that be at the lower deck heard my song on youtube and decided that it was okay to sing it there that night. So before I got up I noticed Alan Doyle was there and said hello. I told him about the song I wrote and that I was a huge fan of Great Big Sea fan. We parted ways and then it was time for me to get up and play. It was a Friday night and my friend Tony was there recording the show. I got up and sang that song “Canadian Navy” with everything I got and for a moment in time forgot about all the shit that was going on and just feed off the crowd.
Well I could easily see Alan Starring at me while I was singing, so I was a little nervous but just let it all out. The crowd was very gracious and few people couldn’t believe I wrote that song or that I was in the navy. I had a moment to speak with Alan afterwards and he was mightily impressed by that song and kept mentioning me after he got up with Cory Tetford for a few songs. We even got a video of it all which always makes me smile. That video helped me get through another years worth of shit. It’s many little stories like this one that have happened to me over the years that made me decide to go into music and have the guts to pursue original music.