Radio·Dog-Eared Reads

Musician Vince Fontaine on his musical and cultural connection with A Newfoundlander in Canada

Member of Juno Awards nominated group Indian City recommends Alan Doyle's memoir.
Winnipeg musician and producer Vince Fontaine discusses A Newfoundlander in Canada. (Doubleday Canada)

Vince Fontaine, from Winnipeg, MB., is the frontman of Juno Awards nominated folk-rock group Indian City and co-founder of Eagle & Hawk.

Fontaine talks about his appreciation for Alan Doyle's A Newfoundlander in Canada.

On the music

"It was so intriguing and so familiar for me as a music artist in Canada, kind of from the same era. I met Alan a few times. One of the first times was at the Juno Awards in Newfoundland in 2002. Great Big Sea were really held front and centre as the music showpiece at the time. It was really wonderful. The book talks about them stepping out as a music entity and how they were almost like foreigners. He travels across Canada and there are so many highlights. It's just a wonderful tour."

Cultural parallels

"The strongest point in the book were the many parallels between Indigenous people and Newfoundlanders. They were new to Canada in 1949 and all of a sudden became part of the Canadian landscape in all areas: politically, socially and culturally, so it was similar to us as Indigenous people in the 1960s, when we finally got to vote. We finally got to get off the reserve and think about self-determination and the whole expression, which was political, social and musical. So I really enjoyed that."

Honourable mention

"I'm from Winnipeg, so the part that was really funny was Allen's story where he was driving and driving. He couldn't believe how long it was taking to get to Winnipeg and when he arrived, there was a snow storm. Well, it was February — what do you expect, right? So he pulls in there and it must have been very cold because he got out and he said his face froze, but he really complimented Winnipeg for having 40 of the most beautiful 100 buildings in Canada and having international recording artists. The music background we had is something that I am really proud of as a recording artist. So I'm really glad Alan acknowledged that part."

Vince Fontaine's comments have been edited and condensed.