PODCAST: Sean McCann is the ‘Shantyman’

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Host Peter McCully chats with Sean McCann, the musician and singer-songwriter best known as a member of the Newfoundland folk-rock band Great Big Sea.

McCann began his musical career as buskers on the streets of St. John’s before forming Great Big Sea with bandmates Alan Doyle and Bob Hallett in 1993.

The members of the band are all multi-instrumentalists.

“I think it’s because we’re all untrained, and it’s great to go into theory and stuff, but it tells you what the rules are,” McCann said. “So we’re not afraid to try anything without realizing what the constraints are on us.”

In 2013, McCann announced that he was leaving Great Big Sea to focus on his career and personal life. Since then, he’s continued to release music and tour extensively, drawing on his addiction and recovery experiences and his Newfoundland roots to create poignant and heartfelt songs that resonate with listeners around the world.

McCann told host Peter McCully that he is now a solo performer.

“The audience, whether they know it or not, they are the band, and everyone should be singing. It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing well, because if everyone sings, it will always end up with some kind of harmony.

McCann and his wife Andrea have written a memoir about addiction and recovery called “One Good Reason.”

“I’m a survivor of sexual abuse myself and people drink and do drugs for a reason. That’s mine. I haven’t dealt with it in a long time. But I’ve been sober for 11 years now and I try to put my energy into it , to share my story with anyone who will listen,” McCann said.

“It’s important that we know it’s out there, a lot of people are scared to talk about it. But I’m doing everything I can to change that because I believe one thing is a secret can kill you and there’s only one way to beat a secret, That is sharing them.

Sean McCann will be touring extensively in 2023 with stops in British Columbia.

Podcasts include “The Shantyman” performed by McCann.

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