Record a track in the men’s room with nearly 50 of Canada’s most celebrated musicians? That is one for the history books.
And history they made as Alan Doyle, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, Sarah McLachlan, Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, Spirit Kids Barney and Dustin Bentall, Colin James, Craig Northey and The Odds, Shari Ulrich, Jim Byrnes, Kendel Carson, Daniel Lapp, Spirit of the West with Cory Tetford, Shehab Illyas and Kris MacFarlane and many more of Canada’s top musicians came together to cover Spirit of the West’s “Home for a Rest” in honour and support of frontman John Mann and his battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Performing and recording as part of a benefit in John’s honour at the Commodore Ballroom in November 2017, the resulting video and song sit at the helm of a GoFundMe campaign to assist the 55-year-old singer in his extensive care for the degenerative disease. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from the sales and streaming of the new release will go to the John Mann Trust Fund.
“We got it in the can in the can.” – Alan Doyle
“This song is a testament to the love that lives in the community of the Canadian Music Business,” explains Doyle, who spearheaded the recording.
“I encourage everyone to enjoy and share this song that was made by so many people offering a hand to a friend who needs it. This is for John.”
Doyle and audio engineer Peter Green created a makeshift sound studio in the Commodore’s second-floor men’s washroom, shuttling musicians in to record.
“We did drape it nicely,” Doyle says. “We found a bunch of black drapes to put over the urinals and the like. We had Sarah McLachlan coming in there. I couldn’t ask Sarah to go to just any old men’s can to sing a song. We got it in the can in the can.”
The outreach has received $35,000 so far.
Industry peers beyond musicians are lending their support as well.
“My very first gig as a lighting designer was Spirit of the West at the Empress six years ago,” Kyle Gilmar offers.
“Thanks for letting the new guy have a shot.”
Audio of the live performance was sent to radio this week. Listen out for it!