Last Song


Anger is the enemy.

Anger is ruthless and unpredictable and it only wants to hurt. It crushes all genuine communication and kills compassion. The potential for Anger exists in us all.

Great Big Sea did not end well and I take full responsibility for my part in that failure. You have probably heard this analogy before and I can assure you that it holds true: being in a band is like being in a marriage. Leaving a band is very much like going through a divorce and arguably just as painful. It was not a decision I made lightly. We always earned good money and I have a young family to support but I needed to move away from a very unhealthy environment in order to get better….in order to survive. I ultimately decided that an unemployed dad is better than a dead one.  Unfortunately, as in most divorces, our views on a fair settlement were radically different and I became very frustrated…..and Angry

At the end of last summer, my friend Shaun Majumder (this hour has 22 minutes) had invited me out to his small festival in Burlington NL called “The Gathering”. One morning I was out walking through the woods stewing about our complete lack of any business resolution, when all of a sudden I encountered a woman crawling around on the ground. I thought she must have fallen and asked :

“Are you ok” 

“Yes, i’m fine”  

“What are you doing?”

“Looking for a four leaf clover”

“Do you ever find any?”

“Yes….all the time….I know you…… you're Séan McCann and I came here to tell you something…..You must never give up!”

“Oh really…”

“Yes really. My name is Anne-Lise Boyer and 10 years ago I was hit by a drunk driver and I have a brain injury. Before the accident I was a huge GBS fan but I haven’t been able to go to a concert in ten years because the lights and the volume give me seizures. I came here all the way from Ontario to hear you sing because I knew it would not be too loud or too flashy….and to tell you that your music really matters and that you must NEVER GIVE UP …..are you singing any GBS songs tonight.…?

My heart almost burst. 

“I am now” 

It was my second “moment of clarity”. A switch had flipped. That night I sang only GBS songs and I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. A feeling of peace came over me as I let go of more and more anger with every verse. After the set Anne-Lise came up and gave me a Great Big Hug…and then she gave me a four leaf clover. I had the flower encased in silver so I would never forget how truly lucky I am. The sad truth is that my former self would never have stopped to ask why a woman would be crawling along the forest floor. I was far too self absorbed. I paid people to “protect” me from the world; to keep me in my dark cocoon and prevent any real light from getting in. My addiction must have cost me many beautiful experiences over the past 30 years. I am grateful that I was awake and present enough not to miss this one. 

Life is too short.

ANGER is our real enemy and it can only be defeated by LOVE.

 Anne-Lise gives me a Great Big Hug 

Anne-Lise gives me a Great Big Hug 

Sean McCannComment