A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!

Great Big Sea’s sixth CD a ‘condolence’ to friends who’ve lost loved ones
TORONTO (CP) – Leave it to Great Big Sea to turn a year of adversity into something hopeful and fun.
After losing three friends to cancer and the early retirement of a founding band member, frontman Alan Doyle said the band coped by writing very bright music for Something Beautiful. “This was not a get-it-done record. This was more a response to a year that was less than perfect,” he said in a recent interview during a stopover in Toronto.
“Across the board they were extremely bright songs and hopeful. In retrospect they were probably written, not intentionally, but to make ourselves feel better.”
The events spawned a writing spree for Doyle and bandmates Sean McCann and Bob Hallett. Recorded in the band’s home of St. John’s, Nfld., the album, Great Big Sea’s sixth, features 10 original songs, one cover and one traditional tune.
The title track Something Beautiful, says Doyle, was written as a condolence to friends who lost someone special. The rest are similar in theme; an emotional response to someone in grief to ease their pain. The opening track, Shines Right Through Me, begins “These days I feel a change.”
“What’s cool about that song being first is that it really offers to people that the brightest light in their lives could be something that’s right next to them,” says Doyle. “People who’ve heard the song assume it’s about a man and a woman or a couple, it’s really about the three of us and how during difficult times that the best solace that we found was in each other. We looked to the guys who were standing on stage with us to be lightened.”
The three – Doyle, Hallett and McCann, founding members of the band – hired bassist Murray Foster, formerly of Moxy Fruvous and drummer Kris MacFarlane to record the album. Darrell Power left the band last year saying he wanted to devote more time to his family.
Despite several blows, the band, which released its first album in 1993, hasn’t lost any of its good humour. A glance at the liner notes reveals their usual mischievousness. No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani is the first person listed in the thank-yous.
“In her studio, apparently she has a big poster of us in front of the vocal booth,” deadpans Doyle. After about 30 seconds of silence, he clears his throat, “Sorry, wait now. WE have a poster of HER in our studio.”
That reputation of being good-natured and eternal optimists, says Doyle, is part of the band’s bloodline.
“Coming from where we come from, there’s not a lot of downer songs. In some places traditional music is a downer. People have recorded their history in song in a very dark way,” he begins. “But Newfoundlanders, who for over 400 years of recording community events and shipwrecks and tragedies and garden parties and marriages, are well known for doing very well when times are shitty, for dealing with strife in a very positive way.”
Even the band’s namesake reflects the history. Great Big Sea is a jovial ditty about a tidal wave that crashed into a town and caused massive destruction.
The band will tour the U.S. in March before heading off to Europe. They plan a full Canadian tour in the fall.