You probably figured out that the music scene in Newfoundland and Labrador is heavily influenced by the Irish. At any night during the week, there’s at least one Irish-influenced band playing somewhere.
My favourite nights out are when some friends and I hit up the Irish pubs for some fiddle music and classic Newfie tunes, the kinda music that just feels like home. Here’s some of the best.
Peter Street – The Fables
My favourite song by The Fables. Can’t beat that fiddle.
There’s Gonna be a Time Tonight – The Fables
Seriously, how can you not dance? This one reminds me of high school dances.
Heave Away – The Fables
But now we’re bound for old St. John’s where all the girls are dancing!
Candlelight and Wine – The Punters
Probably my all-time favourite. Reminds me of warm summer nights and dancing at the local pub.
Grey Foggy Day — Eddie Coffey
This is REAL Newfoundland music, not Irish. Notice the insane stress on some of the words. Lots of story-telling. Makes me want to waltz with some senior citizens.
The Rose in Her Hair – Simani
Another real Newfoundland song, same waltz style, sad little story about courtship. Like New Years with lots of tinsel.
Mary Mac – Great Big Sea
Great Big Sea kinda became a big deal, most people have at least heard of them. But their old stuff? Now that’s golden. Try to keep up.
Also, if you ever get to see these guys in concert, DO IT. They’re bloody fantastic.
Ron Hynes – Sonny’s Dream
I wish I had an original of this song, because it’s amazing. Hynes played this song while opening for Steve Miller Band last week. I later saw the two girls in front of me who were so drunk they kept dancing on their chairs hitting on him at a pub.
It’s in the lyrics:
Sonny’s dreams can’t be real, they’re just stories he’s read
They’re just stars in his eyes, they’re just dreams in his head
And he’s hungry inside for the wide world outside
And I know I can’t hold him though I’ve tried and I’ve tried
Oh, Sonny don’t go away, I am here all alone
And your daddy’s a sailor who never comes home
And the nights get so long and the silence goes on
And I’m feeling so tired, I’m not all that strong
Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers – Saltwater Joys
Most people love this one. You’ll find nostalgia is a common thread in all these songs. Plus, man, check out that accent.
This island that we cling to has been handed down with pride
By folks that fought to live here, taking hardships all in stride
So I’ll compliment her beauty, hold on to my goodbyes
And I’ll stay and take my chances with those saltwater joys.
Shanneyganock – I Had a Hat
Just a super fun song. I had a hat when I came in, and I hung it on the rack, and I’ll have a hat when I go out or I’ll break somebody’s back!
Great Big Sea – The Night Paddy Murphy Died
This is about as Irish as it gets.
The Fables – St. John’s
This song is SO HARD TO FIND, and I have no idea why. There’s a good day comin’ when you lay your head in St. John’s.
Coming to Newfoundland? Check out my Newfoundland guidebook, available soon.