‘We got it in the can in the can’: Alan Doyle spearheads bathroom recording to benefit John Mann – Newfoundland & Labrador

A new version of a Spirit of the West hit was recorded in restroom before a Vancouver gig to support ongoing care for the band’s lead singer, who is living with early onset Alzheimer’s.

“We got it in the can in the can,” said singer-songwriter Alan Doyle of the recording, which came together with the help of other Canadian musicians at the Nov. 19 benefit show at the Commodore Ballroom.

“‘I knew when that gig was coming up, that it was going to be a special day,” Doyle told Weekend AM about the show in support of John Mann, who was diagnosed in 2014 at the age of 52.

In order to have something from the benefit that would last beyond the event itself, Doyle planned a recording of one of the band’s best-known songs, Home For A Rest.

Doyle and members of his touring band laid down a bed track while in Halifax for a gig, and vocals — and a video — were recorded at the Commodore ballroom on the day of the show itself with dozens of the musicians who played on stage later that evening.

Doyle a longtime fan 

Doyle has a long history with Mann and Vancouver-based Spirit of the West as a solo musician and as a member of Great Big Sea. 

But his introduction to the band actually came from Much Music in the late 1980s. Doyle said he was excited to see music videos from a band playing the traditional instruments he was familiar with in an entirely new way.

John Mann of Spirit of the West has early-onset Alzheimer’s. (Supplied by Jill Daum/Spirit of the West )

“The first band that we knew in Canada that was getting on television, and even getting on the radio, and playing acoustic instruments really aggressively and punky was Spirit of the West,” Doyle said of the band, which he described as a huge influence on him as a young musician.

“The way they chose to play very, very, delicate, fragile acoustic Celtic instruments was incredible to me,” Doyle said. “It was very influential, yeah, probably one of the most influential bands of my lifetime.”

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