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After decades playing with other groups, former Great Big Sea bassist is making a solo album

Darrell Power — pictured performing at the Black Sheep bar on Water Street in downtown St. John’s earlier this week — says he’s glad he waited to work on his first solo album, since he’s more experienced in his music career and knows what he wants.
Darrell Power — pictured performing at the Black Sheep bar on Water Street in downtown St. John’s earlier this week — says he’s glad he waited to work on his first solo album, since he’s more experienced in his music career and knows what he wants. - Keith Gosse

‘It’s always been on my bucket list’

Darrell Power spent more than three decades playing with well-known music groups.

From his four years as a member of Rankin Street in the late 1980s and early 1990s, 10 years as a member of Great Big Sea, three years partnering with singer Kevin Evans and more than 10 years as a member of Timber, the talented bassist, guitarist and vocalist has helped many other musicians create magical music moments on the local music scene.

Now, he’s ready to create some of his own.

The 50-year-old from Outer Cove is pursuing his first solo album.

After more than 30 years of writing his own material and hoping to record it someday, he said now was the right time to do it.

“Those (bands) were all fun, but making a solo album, it’s always been on my bucket list,” Power told The Telegram during an interview Tuesday at a downtown coffee shop.

“I always knew I wanted to do it, but every time I kept getting close to it, I kept writing more songs. That seemed to be my habit, to back away from it a little bit more.

“The way it is — and most musicians are alike — you think you really can’t sing, you really can’t play and you really can’t write.”

However, when some of his original songs went over well during his solo acoustic performances at the Black Sheep bar on Water Street in downtown St. John’s this year, it gave him the confidence he needed to record them.

“I’d joke that you write songs and put them under the bed, but they were finally broken out,” said Power, who owned his own recording studio for seven years. “And people were really liking them.”

Things took off for Power a few months ago after a chance meeting downtown with Robert Kelly, a native of Fogo and well-known sound engineer.

“We bumped into each other and he said, ‘Why don’t we record it?’” Power said of Kelly, who recorded the album in Rick Hollett Sr.’s studio on Bond Street, not far from where Power lives. “That was a Thursday. On Saturday, we were in the studio, getting started on it. It all came together so fast.”

He said he’s known for four years what he would call the album — “Happily Ever After,” “because it answers the question, ‘What ever happened to Darrell Power?’” he said, laughing.

“Which is a total joke, because who lives happily ever after? But it’s a nice thing to strive for.”

He said the album includes “a little bit of everything,” but mostly folk and folk/rock tunes. His favourite is the self-titled track, the last of 12 tracks, which he said is like a southern Baptist gospel tune.

“I like to describe it as a story of ‘a life’ because the album does tell a story,” he said. “There are bits and pieces of my life, but it’s also living in other people’s heads, which is another (aspect) to songwriting — to write from their perspective.”

Power — who has two sons, ages 15 and 17 — said he’s glad he waited so long to make the solo album, as his boys are older now and, as a musician, he has more experience as a songwriter and more knowledge about making song selections.

As exciting as it is for him to be venturing out on his own, he admits it was big move.

“(Great Big Sea’s) albums were a lot of fun. I loved that whole process. That’s four people butting heads about songs, arrangements — and believe you me, we were pretty good at butting heads when it came to the price of tea in China or whether it’s a D (chord) or G7, and that’s a fact,” he said, laughing.

“So, it’s a different experience when you’re by yourself. The decisions you make are yours alone, so you weigh every word, every chord.”

He was happy to have some talented local musicians accompany him on the album.

They include drummer Devon Milley, who played in a thrash metal rock band called Monsterbator; Hollett Sr. (piano); Kevin Evans (banjo/mandolin); Luke Welsh (violin), a member of the Punters; Hey Rosetta! cellist Romesh Thavanathan; and Terri Lynn Humber (piano, vocals), who plays in the band Weight of the World.

His Great Big Sea bandmates — Alan Doyle, Sean McCann and Bob Hallett — also make contributions, either instrumentally or vocally.

“They all appear somewhere on the album and I’m glad they are on it,” Power said. “They are all old friends and that was really important to me.”

Since Kelly’s schedule is taking him out of the country for several months, the album will be completed long distance “thanks to Dropbox technology,” Power said.

It’s due out this fall.

“I’m really looking forward to (having it released),” he said. “Now that I’ve done it, I’m definitely going to do it again.”

rmullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelyRosie

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