Newfoundland’s Alan Doyle learned piano and drums as a child, soon moving on to guitar (and eventually mandolin, bouzouki, and pretty much anything with strings). He joined his uncle’s rockabilly‐meets‐traditional‐Newfoundland band the New Standells at the age of 15, and while attending St. John’s University, he was one half of a duo (with John Benton) called Staggering Home.
Following a series of informal jam sessions with members of the Celtic rock band Rankin Street (Sean McCann, Bob Hallett, and Darrell Power), Doyle joined forces with them and Great Big Sea were born.
Mixing traditional Newfoundland music with a fresh pop sensibility, and with Doyle handling lead vocals, the band released a self‐titled album independently in 1992, and then signed with Warner Canada, which promptly reissued the debut.
Some ten studio albums followed as Great Big Sea grew into one of Canada’s biggest and most respected bands. Doyle issued a solo album, Boy on Bridge, in 2012.