Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Reader's Diary #2178- Séan McCann and Andrea Aragon: One Good Reason

Not too long ago I read a memoir by another former Great Big Sea star, Alan Doyle. At the time I commented that I'd been surprised to find how similar our upbringings were despite being from outport Newfound; he was a Catholic and a musician, neither of which am I, and yet still we seemed to have shared so many life experiences.

Despite being a musician and a Catholic and being from the same band, Séan McCann's earlier years seemed remarkably different. And reading about the trauma he endured, Doyle and I should count our lucky stars. McCann had been groomed by a local priest, sexually assaulted, and became an alcoholic.

Billed as "a memoir of addiction and recovery, music, and love" I would say the emphasis is on the addiction aspect, as I would also say that despite given co-author credit, the focus is more on McCann than his wife Andrea Aragon. This is not to suggests any of this particular focus is a problem, just throwing it out there so as other readers know what to expect.

His time with Great Big Sea is nonetheless interesting. A folk band is not what one would think of a group living the Rockstar life, but they certainly did. It was also fascinating to read about the level of fame beyond the Canadian border and what that meant for performances. And while he doesn't come right out and name names or get into too many specific grievances, the sting of the break up of the band was still prevalent during the writing of the book. One does not sense the other guys were particularly supportive of his struggle to go sober. I do wonder if any of them have reached out since the book.

Overall, it's a well-paced, inspiring book. It does beg for a sequel at some point down the road though!

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