Nobody Loves New Brunswick Like Glenn MacFarlane

Category: music 171

NB Expat tours his own brand of New Brunswick folk music throughout the province this month.

Tonights NewsTake a little Stompin’ Tom, a dash of Jimmy Flynn and a healthy dose of New Brunswick pride and you get…well, you end up with something similar to Glenn MacFarlane, the NB born musician, singer, songwriter who has probably penned more songs about the Maritimes than anyone else in recent memory. With songs like Lobster Roll, Dulse! and Let’s Talk New Brunswick, MacFarlane’s home province pride is undeniable. His 60’s folk-rooted, comedic interpretations of Maritime life have earned him praised from CBC Radio, Penguin Eggs Magazine and the Otario Council of Folk Festivals.

Now based out of province, MacFarlane and his trusted sideman Keith will be back on the East Coast this month playing shows at the Dooryard Arts Festival, the Tay Creek Folk Festival, the New Brunswick Talent Showcase (Market Square Boardwalk) and a handful of others in support of his latest release, Music and Friends (which includes the soon-to-be hit, It’s a Beautiful Day for a Beer).

For those unversed in Glenn MacFarlane, we put a few questions to him in hopes of offering you a short primer.

GCM: Would you say your songs fall into the “novelty song” category?

GM: I’m not sure if I’d call them novelty songs, but I do tell people that I specialize in ditties. I like to write fun and funny songs, and I enjoy playing with words when I’m writing.

You channel a lot of folk influence in your songs. Where does your interest in folk come from?

I think a lot of it came from my upbringing. I grew up on armed forces bases all over Eastern Canada. There always seemed to be a lot of east coast music around. My parents had records from the likes of Anne Murray and the Irish Rovers. My dad plays accordion and piano (he used to play dances when he was young), while my mom is always singing. I think I got a lot from them. I do remember one of my elementary school music teachers was really into Simon and Garfunkel, and we’d study their pieces.

I really started getting into folk music when I met my musical partner Les Smith. We formed the Celtic and East Coast duo Brown Ale. He’s originally from Newfoundland, and we were originally greatly influenced by Tamarack and Figgy Duff. Les has taught me a lot about traditional music, and he helped me start up the Brampton Folk Club.

I was a big fan of Tanglefoot, and their traditional sounding story songs helped inspire me to get back in songwriting after a 10 year hiatus. I originally started writing the same sort of songs for Brown Ale, but gradually I began to write stuff that was more reflective of my own personality.  These days I feel lucky that I have three musical outlets (my solo stuff, Brown Ale, and our Celtic/folk/rock trio, Celteclectic), each with their own sound and repertoire.

The same goes for humour. Is that a reflection of Maritime life or are you just looking for a way to blend comedy and music?  Maybe both?

I’m a big believer that music should entertain, so that’s what I try to do. I may not be the best singer in the world, but if someone is kind enough to listen to my music the least I can do is give them a good time. Comedy and music are two things that are very important to me. While they’re both amazing on their own, it is fun to try to combine the two.

I think it’s fair to say that my songs are a reflection of Maritime life. We’re a friendly bunch with a good sense of humour, and we like to have a good time. Life is too short to treat ourselves too seriously.

How many Jimmy Flynn albums do you own?

None, actually (sorry, Jimmy!), but I do have a couple of Buddy Wasisname albums. I used to enjoy Lorne Elliot on his radio show “Madly Off in All Directions”, was a big fan of The Red Green Show, and still love Ron James.

Catch Glenn MacFarlane On Tour:

  • July 23rd – Dooryard Arts Festival, Woodstock.
  • July 24th – Entertainment on the Pavilion, Hampton
  • July 26th – Market Square Boardwalk, Saint John
  • July 29th to July 31st – Tay Creek Folk Festival (main stage set July 30th)
  • August 1st (New Brunswick Day!) – Moncton’s 250th Anniversary!

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