Nfld. & Labrador

Through Texas, the tale of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment marches on

Danny O’Flaherty is an Irish-American musician living in Texas, but his latest album, It's a Long Way From St. John's, is all about the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

Have a First Listen to It's a Long Way From St. John's by Danny O'Flaherty

Danny O'Flaherty is an Irish-American musician who has written an album about the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, called It's A Long Way From St. John's. (Courtesy Danny O'Flaherty)

Danny O'Flaherty is an Irish-American musician living in Texas, but his latest album is all about the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

"So many of these stories, they touch your soul," said O'Flaherty.

O'Flaherty first heard tell of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment from his wife, Lisa Codner.  

Codner is originally from Torbay. Her great-uncle, Leo O'Neill, was a member of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment who served in the First World War. She and her family filled in O'Flaherty on the role of the regiment during that conflict.

"And I said to myself, 'this is an incredible story,'" he said. 

"And I decided to write a song about it."

Through research, a friendship develops

O'Flaherty threw himself into research, reading as many books as he could find on Newfoundland and the First World War, and consulting The Rooms and other archival sources.

During that phase of research, he contacted Gary Browne, the police and military historian in St. John's, who quickly jumped on board to support O'Flaherty's work and has since developed a strong friendship with O'Flaherty.

"I was so glad when he told me what he was doing," said Browne.

The result was the album, It's a Long Way From St. John's.  

Album supports Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum

O'Flaherty created a video for the title track of the album, using archival photographs of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

Browne is thrilled with the album.

"Danny has caught it so well in song and melody," said Browne.

Browne added that all proceeds from the album will be donated to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum at the Canadian Forces Base in St. John's.

O'Flaherty hopes to perform the songs in November for audiences in Newfoundland.  

Have a listen to Danny O'Flaherty's and Gary Browne's conversation with Weekend AM host Heather Barrett. 

Irish-Texan music Danny O'Flaherty and his research collaborator Gary Browne join Weekend AM's Heather Barrett for a conversation about O'Flaherty's album, It's a Long Way From St. John's 20:59

Do you have a new album of music that Weekend AM should know about for First Listen? Email us wam@cbc.ca and tell us about it.

You can hear First Listen Sundays on Weekend AM from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. (5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in most of Labrador) on CBC Radio One.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador 

About the Author

Heather Barrett is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One in Newfoundland and Labrador.