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Musician marking 30 years of Great Big Sea with Orillia show

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Séan McCann performing on St. Patrick’s Day at Orillia Opera House

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ORILLIA OPERA HOUSE

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Séan McCann celebrates 30 years of Great Big Sea at the Orillia Opera House this March.

It was in 1989 when Séan McCann purchased his first guitar. Old Brown, as he refers to it, would follow the music star through the thick and thin of the industry. In helping find the first chords that began Séan’s long-standing songwriting career, Old Brown also became a vital piece of the ensemble of Canada’s greatest folk-rock band, Great Big Sea. Today, the well-worn musical pal remains by McCann’s side, bringing the shantyman’s signature foot-stomping, spirit-lifting music to audiences across the country.

Séan and his trusty sidekick have seen it all, and this St. Patrick’s Day, the shantyman, along with Old Brown in tow, will be bringing a special celebration to the Orillia Opera House stage. In honour of Great Big Sea’s 30th anniversary, McCann will feature a set list from The Great Big Songbook, a collection of fan favourites from the band’s 10-album discography, along with a few surprises from his most recent release, Shantyman.

Since co-founding Newfoundland and Labrador’s loudest and proudest mainstream band, McCann has also celebrated the release of six successful solo albums. His first release, Lullabies for Bloodshot Eyes, in 2010, saw his lyrics take a more personal turn, exploring topics of trauma and addiction. This would inspire Séan to use his platform to advocate for mental health awareness and perform as a valued musical keynote speaker. His contributions would later appoint him as a Member of the Order of Canada.

His 2020 memoir, One Good Reason: A Memoir of Addiction and Recovery, Music and Love, co-written with his wife, Andrea Aragon, continued the conversation by exploring his struggles with mental health. The book shines a light on the power of music to inspire even in the darkest times. Spending time with his pal, Old Brown, is one of the ways Séan was able to find an outlet. These days his trusty guitar can even be seen tagging along to the singer’s keynote engagements.

For Séan, it’s the music that is the medicine and the driving force behind his personable and joyous performance style. With an expert storyteller at the helm, and a beloved set list you know and love inspired by the brighter sounds of Newfoundland’s ancestral music, there’s no better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year.

Prepare to laugh, sing along, and be transported through time as an iconic three-decade-long career is explored and celebrated in Orillia this March.

Séan McCann Sings the Great Big Songbook on March 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased online at OrilliaOperaHouse.ca, or by calling the box office at 705-326-8011.

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