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November 25, 2013

MUSIC NOTES: Great Big Sea looks forward to WNY gigs

Tonawanda News — Great Big Sea stands atop the field of Celtic rock bands after 20 years in existence. They are legends in their native Canada, and equally revered by Celtic music lovers worldwide. They accomplished this by embracing the music of their homeland, Newfoundland and Labrador, and by establishing themselves as a premier live act.

The band is coming to town for two intimate performances at Seneca Niagara Casino’s Bear’s Den in Niagara Falls Tuesday and Wednesday.

“It’s a great little venue, a bit off our beaten path, but it’s a great little room from an artistic standpoint,” said Great Big Sea’s Bob Hallett during a recent phone interview. “We wanted to tape some stuff on this tour, and it gives us an opportunity to do that. We are playing two nights so we can run through our entire repertoire.”

The band has been celebrating their 20th anniversary all year, and touring in support of the aptly named album “XX” which features a cross-section of previously released pop, traditional folk and new recordings.

“We have been doing a lot of material on this tour we haven’t done for a long time and may not do again for a long time. When we saw (the Bear’s Den) on our itinerary we realized it was a great opportunity for us. We are excited to do it.”

Hallet and Great Big Sea paved the way for other Celtic rock bands like Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and Enter the Haggis.

“We’ve inspired a thousand pub bands to take up the fiddle,” Hallet joked.

Before Hallet decided on music as a career, he pursued a career in journalism.

“When journalism looked like a viable career, I pursued an English degree, and then that morphed into what was called public affairs, which is called public relations now. The whole time I was doing that I was in bands and I was staying up late. I was up until 3 a.m. and then I had to get up the next morning to edit the TV listings. I bet there were a lot of errors, I probably would have been a better editor if I had been a lousy musician,” Hallet said.

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