Andrew Doyle
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Andrew Doyle

Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"A Man With A Plan"

By Laurel Munroe

When Andrew Doyle was a youngster, his mother gave him two pieces of advice: never put all your eggs in one basket and always have a backup plan.

The 23-year-old Sydney Mines singer-songwriter - who recently released his debut CD, Liv, and opens for April Wine this weekend at the Savoy - seems to be following that sage maternal counsel to the letter. He is definitely a man with a plan.

Doyle, the youngest of 15 children, literally grew up around local songwriters and performers like Bruce Guthro, Fred Lavery and the Barra MacNeils.

Music, he says, has always had a profound effect on his life. In fact, his family jokes that he sang his first word and talked later. Doyle received his first guitar at age nine.

"There was this old acoustic guitar in the house with a broken neck and it would not stay in tune," he recalls. "I was pounding on that thing all the time so they bought me a guitar and put me in guitar lessons."

Despite the family joke, serious singing came later - although he admits to belting out John Denver, Kenny Rogers, Anne Murray and Rita MacNeil tunes "before I hit the double (age) digits."

When he was in high school, Doyle's sister asked him to sing at her wedding. Never one to do anything halfway, he enrolled in voice lessons - and proceeded to write his first song for the occasion. "I had one singing lesson and within three days I was lead-singing in a band of my high school teachers," he laughs.

"When it came time, after high school, for me to decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life, I knew without a doubt music was it."

Mrs. Doyle's common-sense advice must have stuck with her son, however, because he decided to obtain a university degree before pursuing his dream of a full-time career in the music business. He left St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish with a BA in history - and three years' worth of songwriting experiences.

"Almost all the songs on the album came from something that happened there," Doyle says. "Some songwriters write in the third person, but I can only write about what I relate to and what I've lived through. "The songs are all me, they're all true, and every song has a story behind it - and some of them are a little outrageous."

The title track, Liv, "was written out of pure frustration," Doyle says. "I'd graduated from university and I was moving home to Cape Breton to pursue a music career," he explains. "The day after I got home, I got a call from the student loans people saying I owed them $43,000 and they wanted it paid back within six months. I'd planned for so long to do this album and it takes a lot of money to get it going . . . and I knew I'd be working just to pay off this student loan. The frustration of that was where the song came from."

He ended up qualifying for the student loan interest relief program and, instead of getting discouraged, for the next two and a half years, worked steadily to get some breathing room.

In 1999, Doyle entered the Maritime Broadcasting System's StarTracks competition with his song Doing Alright. He won the Cape Breton leg of the competition and went on to place fifth at the regional finals in Saint John, N.B.

In November 2000, Doing Alright made it to number one on the K-94 Radio listener-voted Top 9 at 9 and remained on the countdown for three months.

Doyle decided it was time to record his long-planned-for debut album. With a loan from NEDAC (the Northside Economic Development Assistance Corp.), he completed the project at Lakewind Sound in Point Aconi, with Fred Lavery at the helm as producer and some of Cape Breton's best musicians, including Gordie Sampson, Allie Bennett, Dave McKeough, Lyndon MacKenzie, Aaron Lewis, Brian Talbot and Laurel Martell.

"The best compliment I can give the studio is that the album came out exactly as I wanted it to come out," he says.

Liv can only be classified as a contemporary rock album, with straight-ahead rock riffs, funk grooves, and shades of artists like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, George Clinton and The Eagles.

Doyle is looking forward to opening for April Wine, which he cites as an influence, Sunday night at the Savoy.

He plans to release the album's first single, Shout, in the Atlantic region (K-94 is already playing it) this month and a release party is in the works.

"This is what I plan to do for the rest of my life," he says. "I have a plan and I know where I want to be. This is the first step."
- Cape Breton Post

"Series reveals our country's undiscovered talent"

April 4, 2004
Series reveals our country's undiscovered talent
Greg Quill, Toronto Star

A few years ago, Calgary documentary-maker Joel Stewart was shooting a concert film of the fabled Canadian family folk band Leahy, and was struck by the affection the group members bestowed on a man in the crowd, whom they asked to come on stage to accompany them.

"His name was Colum Quigley, and he had played accordion with the Leahys when they were kids," says Stewart. "It was clear that he was an inspiration to them, and yet to most people he had achieved nothing ... he wasn't rich or famous. He was a nobody."

That incident stuck with Stewart for quite a while. An "unknown" musician himself, who had made his way directing performance films and videos for the likes of roots and country music stars Fred Eaglesmith, Terri Clark and Paul Brandt, as well as the National Geographic documentary The 100 Dollar Taxi Ride, Stewart had always wondered what impulses compel musicians. He was especially intrigued by those against whom the odds are severely stacked, but who continue to compose and perform in anonymity, often under appalling circumstances and for no tangible rewards.

"What keeps the people in my record collection going?" he asked himself a year ago, when he came up with the idea of a documentary series chronicling the personal tales and art of Canadian musicians who function well below the media and music industry radar.

"They're people no one has heard of, or very few ... (they're) cult objects. They never sell more than a handful of records, they rarely get a decent gig or any publicity. So how do they sustain it ... this passion?"

With The Undiscovered Country, a seven-part series of 60-minute documentaries beginning this Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CMT, Stewart finds some of the answers.

"What I learned is that there are as many answers to that question as there are musicians out there," he says. "One thing I'm sure of: It's not about fame or money. These songwriters — and most of the artists we shot are songwriters, because that's the field I'm most familiar with — find something insanely precious in the act of composing. One of them says in one episode that writing a song is harder than writing a novel ... and I suspect that the effort is its own reward."

Loosely divided into geographical and thematic bundles, The Undiscovered Country is less a glimpse into the lives of struggling artists than a lengthy socio-anthropological essay on the elusive meaning of success.

Profiled in the premiere episode, "In A Bar Near You," hosted by Maritimes roots star Jimmy Rankin, are Toronto vampire cabaret artist Kevin Quain, Kensington Market street urchin-turned-saloon balladeer Shaun Santalucia, and Astrid Young, sister of Neil, who finances her art with fees she earns as a wine consultant for collectors.

With a handful of exceptions, the artists in Stewart's documentary can't live off the proceeds of the songs they write, the music they make, yet the songs and the music are their life's blood, their reason for being, their spiritual sustenance.

In subsequent episodes, Guess Who's Randy Bachman takes in Port Dover, Ont.'s, Eaglesmith, and British Columbia's The Laws and Carolyn Mark, all independent artists and canny business operators who have built dedicated and substantial "underground" audiences across North America. Canadian guitar hero Colin James hosts "Local Heroes," profiling Edmonton rock legend Mike McDonald and Calgary's "great bespectacled grump" Lorrie Matheson — both of whom work part-time in record stores to support their musical adventures — as well as Fort McMurray's Ken Flaherty, a mining industry safety expert by day and a lyrical, fingerpicking honky-tonk folk poet come sundown.

East Coast fiddle star Natalie MacMaster hosts "Kitchen Party," profiling her neighbourhood legends Andrew Doyle, Fred Lavery and her uncle, Buddy MacMaster. Donnell Leahy looks at practitioners of disappearing musical traditions in "Old School," focusing on the work of accordionist Quigley, step dancer Gilles Roy, and champion fiddler Frank Leahy, a member of Donnell's own enormous Lakefield, Ont., clan.

Later in the series, Toronto rocker Kim Mitchell, in "Been There, Done That," examines the work and personal decisions of formerly successful Canadian musicians who are busily reinventing themselves — metal rocker Lee Aaron as a jazz chanteuse, former arena rocker Michael Hanson (Glass Tiger) as a record producer and composer of custom wedding songs, and Calgary-based 1960s popster and recovering alcoholic Billy Cowsill now on the alternative music trail. And Blue Rodeo front man Jim Cuddy, in "The Three Jennys," profiles sub-radar Toronto songwriters Jenny Orenstein, Jenny Allen and Jenny Whiteley.

To Stewart's credit, the series is a riveting tale about sacrifice, choices, chance and change. The documentary allows its subjects ample time to deliver the goods, both in song — each artist gets to play two or three complete pieces — and in personal narratives unimpeded by rapid edits that would turn these compelling yarns into trivial sound bites. The director's method gives these musicians substance and nobility, attributes they are rarely afforded in their normal performing lives — in Matheson's words, as unrecognized troubadours "on the endless hundred-bucks-a-night-and-all-the-pride-you-can-swallow tour."

Stewart's unsentimental treatment of his subjects' real and undervalued talent more than compensates for the absence of "name" draws, a condition that almost kept CMT's owners, Corus Entertainment, from green-lighting the series. In the end, the director's passion for his material won over the skeptical suits.

"I wanted as few edits as I could get away with," Stewart says. "And with each profile I tried to recreate the circumstances under which the artist lives and performs — honest and organic. The audience has to be drawn into the songs ... they're what it's all about
- Toronto Star


Liv ~ A.D.D. Music, released 2001

Sophomore CD in production



Andrew Doyle has been performing for the past 15 years all over Eastern Canada. Starting in Cape Breton and beginning to branch out to the rest of the country playing to full houses and enthusiastic crowds.
Andrew's much anticipated sophomore CD will include more great original songs that relate his experience of growing up in a hard working coal town in Cape Breton, evolving as an artist and incorporating his own vision of life and music.
His debut CD "LIV" (2001) was well received critically and commercially and featured the number 1 hit "Doing Alright" on MBS radio's listener voted top 9 at 9. The song was voted number one on 3 separate occasions and stayed in the countdown for over 8 weeks. Several other cuts placed high in the countdown and also received regular rotation on Maritime radio.
For the past 6 years Andrew has had a schedule of more then 220 shows a year, has opened for bands like the The Guess Who, April Wine, and Bruce Guthro just to name a few.
His touring band consists of 3 other experienced musicians from Cape Breton. Cory Keeping on bass, Jeff Stapleton on keyboards and organ, and Shaun Paris on drums.
At lead vocals and guitar Andrew's extremely diverse and adaptable musical style guarantees something for everyone and promises and entertaining show for all in attendance. Approachable and interactive, wherever these guys are performing it is sure to be a memorable and great experience.