Sean McCann

Went to the Dakota Tavern last night to see Sean McCann. His day job is to share lead singing duties with Alan Doyle in the band Great Big Sea, as well as songwriting and playing a variety of instruments. He’s currently touring a side project - the band calls itself the Committed - in support of a solo CD he put out a while ago. McCann mostly plays rhythm guitar during these shows, with the odd detour over to the bodhrån. Man can that guy ever play that drum. He was accompanied for this show by two other musicians: guitar / mandolin / dobro player and squeezebox / fiddle / bouzouki (or lute or some such) player. (Unfortunately I can’t find the names of the sidemen but I’m working on it.)
Musicianship was, of course, impeccable. Amazing rhythmic feel given that most of the songs did not have a drummer. Some great east coast style fiddling, good harmonies and McCann certainly knows how to create a great atmosphere. He’s very funny and self deprecating. Seems to really enjoy bantering with the audience in a small club, something he can’t do on the larger stages GBS plays. He posited the question a number of times: why am I doing this? It’s a good question because it must take some effort to go back out on the road when GBS is not touring. It must also be interesting being back in wee small clubs, and must feel like he’s starting from scratch. But of course, he’s not. I met people who had come from Buffalo, Hamilton. Clearly, they know him from GBS but are also really supportive of his solo work. Couldn’t help but wonder, though, if he’s underwriting this with his own money. Would love to know the economics of it (not that it’s any of my business).
McCann has a lovely, pure voice. Guitarist is a country artist in his own right, and was nice to hear McCann sing a harmony on one of the guitarist’s original country songs. Some ripping guitar and mando solos to go with the fiddling. And although I don’t always find McCann’s lyrics interesting, every song was beautifully performed and presented and it was a really fun night with a pro doing something he clearly loves to do. Another stellar night of singer/songwriter music.
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