Making music a long road for Marc Little

Published Tuesday March 10th, 2009

Tomorrow is a big night for Moncton singer-songwriter-guitarist Marc Little and his band The Watermen as they take the stage at the Rockin' Rodeo sometime after 9 p.m. for a special gig to launch their new album, "11,000 Days."

I've known Marc for quite a few years and reconnected with him after a chance meeting at the Eagles concert in Moncton last summer. Since then we've talked quite a bit about the music business, songwriting, performing and life in general. He even invited me to sit in as guest bass player for a few of his solo acoustic shows at local bars. Over the last few months I've learned to appreciate Marc as a guy who somehow manages to juggle the responsibilities of a full-time job and family life while at the same time pursuing the dream of making music and performing on stage. For some people, playing music is merely a hobby; for others it is a consuming passion.

For those of you who don't know Marc, he grew up in Riverview and studied graphic art and music in Toronto before moving back to Metro Moncton. He's been a fixture in the local music scene for many years and could also be found at flea markets and art festivals drawing caricatures of people.

He loves to tell the story of how, when he was 11, he walked into Chappell's Convenience Store on Coverdale Road and bought a copy of Bryan Adams' "Cuts Like a Knife" album and immediately decided he was going to be a singer too. He spent many hours in the basement teaching himself guitar and learning to sing while listening to people like Paul Simon and Bryan Adams.

Over the years, Marc has found his musical niche somewhere between pop rock and new country. He wrote the official theme song for the New Brunswick Chapter of the Children's Wish Foundation, won a $20,000 battle of the bands contest in Halifax, submitted a new theme song for Hockey Night in Canada and released an album called The Watermen in 2007.

Along the way, he has worked with some big Canadian producers and writers and discovered one of the most important lessons was to be himself. He told me that one cold night last November during a break from an acoustic set at the Five Points Lounge on St. George Street.

You know a performer really wants to hone his craft when he is willing to play solo in front of a tiny crowd. When he invited me to play bass for him at the acoustic shows, Marc e-mailed me a copy of a song called "Long Road" and asked if I could learn it in time. It had an infectious rock hook but was one of those songs that could work in both rock and country. I sat down to learn the bass track and fell in love with it because it sounded like a blend of Dire Straits, Tom Petty and Def Leppard.

A few weeks later, Marc handed me an advance copy of the album and asked me to listen to all the songs and pick out the ones I liked best. Of course my first pick was "Long Road" because it was the one I had concentrated on learning. And then he told me he had sent a copy of the album to Jim Vallance -- the man who co-wrote many hits for Bryan Adams -- and he had nominated the same song to be the first single off the album.

The new album already has the backing of Jeff Burns of Prism Entertainment, who has developed such big-name Canadian artists as Loverboy, Gowan, Platinum Blonde, Prism and Barney Bentall. The record deal with Prism Music Group gives them distribution by Universal Records.

Marc says playing in Moncton has its frustrations because there are only so many venues in which to perform.

"When we play out of town we sell all kinds of CDs and sign autographs. But when we play in our home town it's tough to get a gig. You have to stand in line because there are bands playing for dirt cheap. What's the expression, familiarity breeds contempt."

Marc brings lots of enthusiasm and a raspy voice similar to his hero, Bryan Adams, to his live shows and trades off between an electric guitar and classical guitar.

Marc is already working on his next album and co-writing new songs with Alex Call, who wrote the 1980s hit "Jenny 8675309." He's also waiting for word from the provincial government on an arts grant that will help keep the music machine going. So far, the Watermen have put out two albums on their own dime.

Marc's new album is dedicated to his uncle, Sgt. Gregory Kruse, who was killed in Afghanistan last December. The album launch show at the Rockin' Rodeo will be opened by another hard-working local band, Rik Reese and Neon Highway, and there have even been rumours that the guys from Great Big Sea might show up after their show at the Coliseum tomorrow night. Marc has been joking that the gig is also my early birthday party but I don't know exactly what that means.

l l l

On another quick note, my column last week about fair play in sports generated quite a bit of positive feedback from a lot of people, including the manager of my son's hockey team who read it out loud to all the other parents. The Riverview Peewee Hawks continued their winning ways on a road trip to Fredericton during the March break week, winning another Competitive C tournament in another shootout victory against a team from Boiestown.

It was my first visit to the new Willie O'Ree Centre in Fredericton, a very nice facility with two rinks, a YMCA fitness centre, community rooms and indoor walking track. The arena also has a fitting tribute to O'Ree, the first black player in the NHL, that includes his skates, a Boston Bruins Jersey and a well-worn hockey stick.

n Alan Cochrane is an editor-at-large with the Times & Transcript. His column appears each Tuesday.

Making music a long road for Marc Little

Published Tuesday March 10th, 2009
D7

Tomorrow is a big night for Moncton singer-songwriter-guitarist Marc Little and his band The Watermen as they take the stage at the Rockin' Rodeo sometime after 9 p.m. for a special gig to launch their new album, "11,000 Days."

I've known Marc for quite a few years and reconnected with him after a chance meeting at the Eagles concert in Moncton last summer. Since then we've talked quite a bit about the music business, songwriting, performing and life in general. He even invited me to sit in as guest bass player for a few of his solo acoustic shows at local bars. Over the last few months I've learned to appreciate Marc as a guy who somehow manages to juggle the responsibilities of a full-time job and family life while at the same time pursuing the dream of making music and performing on stage. For some people, playing music is merely a hobby; for others it is a consuming passion.

For those of you who don't know Marc, he grew up in Riverview and studied graphic art and music in Toronto before moving back to Metro Moncton. He's been a fixture in the local music scene for many years and could also be found at flea markets and art festivals drawing caricatures of people.

He loves to tell the story of how, when he was 11, he walked into Chappell's Convenience Store on Coverdale Road and bought a copy of Bryan Adams' "Cuts Like a Knife" album and immediately decided he was going to be a singer too. He spent many hours in the basement teaching himself guitar and learning to sing while listening to people like Paul Simon and Bryan Adams.

Over the years, Marc has found his musical niche somewhere between pop rock and new country. He wrote the official theme song for the New Brunswick Chapter of the Children's Wish Foundation, won a $20,000 battle of the bands contest in Halifax, submitted a new theme song for Hockey Night in Canada and released an album called The Watermen in 2007.

Along the way, he has worked with some big Canadian producers and writers and discovered one of the most important lessons was to be himself. He told me that one cold night last November during a break from an acoustic set at the Five Points Lounge on St. George Street.

You know a performer really wants to hone his craft when he is willing to play solo in front of a tiny crowd. When he invited me to play bass for him at the acoustic shows, Marc e-mailed me a copy of a song called "Long Road" and asked if I could learn it in time. It had an infectious rock hook but was one of those songs that could work in both rock and country. I sat down to learn the bass track and fell in love with it because it sounded like a blend of Dire Straits, Tom Petty and Def Leppard.

A few weeks later, Marc handed me an advance copy of the album and asked me to listen to all the songs and pick out the ones I liked best. Of course my first pick was "Long Road" because it was the one I had concentrated on learning. And then he told me he had sent a copy of the album to Jim Vallance -- the man who co-wrote many hits for Bryan Adams -- and he had nominated the same song to be the first single off the album.

The new album already has the backing of Jeff Burns of Prism Entertainment, who has developed such big-name Canadian artists as Loverboy, Gowan, Platinum Blonde, Prism and Barney Bentall. The record deal with Prism Music Group gives them distribution by Universal Records.

Marc says playing in Moncton has its frustrations because there are only so many venues in which to perform.

"When we play out of town we sell all kinds of CDs and sign autographs. But when we play in our home town it's tough to get a gig. You have to stand in line because there are bands playing for dirt cheap. What's the expression, familiarity breeds contempt."

Marc brings lots of enthusiasm and a raspy voice similar to his hero, Bryan Adams, to his live shows and trades off between an electric guitar and classical guitar.

Marc is already working on his next album and co-writing new songs with Alex Call, who wrote the 1980s hit "Jenny 8675309." He's also waiting for word from the provincial government on an arts grant that will help keep the music machine going. So far, the Watermen have put out two albums on their own dime.

Marc's new album is dedicated to his uncle, Sgt. Gregory Kruse, who was killed in Afghanistan last December. The album launch show at the Rockin' Rodeo will be opened by another hard-working local band, Rik Reese and Neon Highway, and there have even been rumours that the guys from Great Big Sea might show up after their show at the Coliseum tomorrow night. Marc has been joking that the gig is also my early birthday party but I don't know exactly what that means.

l l l

On another quick note, my column last week about fair play in sports generated quite a bit of positive feedback from a lot of people, including the manager of my son's hockey team who read it out loud to all the other parents. The Riverview Peewee Hawks continued their winning ways on a road trip to Fredericton during the March break week, winning another Competitive C tournament in another shootout victory against a team from Boiestown.

It was my first visit to the new Willie O'Ree Centre in Fredericton, a very nice facility with two rinks, a YMCA fitness centre, community rooms and indoor walking track. The arena also has a fitting tribute to O'Ree, the first black player in the NHL, that includes his skates, a Boston Bruins Jersey and a well-worn hockey stick.

n Alan Cochrane is an editor-at-large with the Times & Transcript. His column appears each Tuesday.

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