Skip to Content

Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Writing Out the Notes: Life in Great Big Sea

Author: Bob Hallett
Originally Published: 2010
Publisher: Insomniac Press
Source: Purchased

The Story

Bob Hallett. One of the founding members (and my favourite member) of one of my favourite bands – Great Big Sea. A band whose full catalogue I own. A band who I have seen 6 (soon to be 7) times in concert. A band that has inspired my appreciation of traditional folk music. One of my all-time favourites.

Writing Out the Notes is Bob Hallett’s memoir – about his time growing up, his time discovering music, and his time playing in various bands (including the wonderful Great Big Sea). But it’s also more than that – it’s about the music that he loves.

The Response

Love! Love love love!

Okay. So you know how a lot of celebrity memoirs are written by ghost writers? Well, here’s the thing. Bob Hallett can actually write. He has a blog that is updated semi-regularly. He contributes to magazines. He has written books. And he wrote this. Which just makes it feel that much more authentic than some memoirs I’ve read.

And you can tell that he knows how to write. This memoir completely drew me in (and not just because OMG he’s in GREAT BIG SEA and I am such a FANGIRL) but because of how it was written – like each chapter was a separate little anecdote. And while not everything in this book relates to Hallett’s time in Great Big Sea (don’t let the subtitle of the book lead you to believe that’s all it’s about), it most certainly all revolves around music.

It was unique, the way he did it – it was half about Hallet and half about the music he’s heard that has meant something to him, that has had an impact on his life and career. It gives background on various types of music, on styles, all the while giving us a glimpse into Hallett’s own life. And it did it in such a way that was highly entertaining to read.

The only thing I would’ve wished a little different about this book is this: I wish it could’ve come with a CD that included all the songs mentioned in this book on it. Or that there was a link to an iTunes iMix that included all of the songs mentioned in this book. Because, really? After reading about all these songs, I rather feel the need to actually listen to the ones that I hadn’t known previously.

The Bottom Line

Loooooooved. Highly recommended for those who are either huge Great Big Sea fans, or for those who are looking to be introduced to traditional Atlantic Canada/Irish/Celtic/etc folk music.

Other Reviews

Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Let me know and I’ll add your link.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 6:59 am November 17, 2010.
Category: Non-Fiction
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s):