OverTheOcean album coverListen to Back of the Bus on their website or find them on You Tube.

Listen on Spotify:

Click below to view the Liner Notes from our album, Over the Ocean (2010):

Liner Notes - Over The Ocean (2010) - Official Release June 19th, 2010

1       Star of the County Down            

This tune is the surprise of the project!  It began as a very traditional rendition of the classic Irish tune.  Since we began performing it a year ago, we have added the Whistle/Fiddle instrumental, “March of the O’Neill’s”.  We loved that part from the start.  Paul took over the lyrics and made the song his own.  His “friendly” voice and breathy phrasing are very well suited to telling a story.  But once we got into the studio the rhythm acquired a very strong offbeat feel to it at Ross Nykiforuk’s suggestion.  The drum that arrives in the middle is played by Glenn Ens.  Finally Paul gave it a funky bass line and we felt it had to lead the CD!

Vocals – Paul, Sheila & Jim

Paul – acoustic 6 string & 5 string bass.  Jim – 12 string;  Kathi – D whistle.  Anna –  Violin.  Glenn Ens – Percussion


2.      Over The Ocean                                     

When we started planning the CD, Anna said, “I’ve got a tune. Do you want to hear it?”  “Cool.  Original material,” we thought.  Anna had been focussing on the violin and harmony so far with the other tunes, so having her sing lead was a new step for us.  We love the tune, and the performance; and the name – “Over the Ocean” so much that it was a clear choice as the CD name.  Thanks Anna, it’s a beautiful love song.

Vocals – Anna and Sheila

Jim – 12 string.  Paul – Bass.  Anna – Violin.  Kathi – D Whistle  -.  Sheila – 6 string


3       River Driver                                  

This traditional tune is a favourite of ours when we are on stage.   Don’t resist the urge to sing along!

Vocals – Everyone!


4       Sonny’s Dream 

According to his website, Ron Hynes wrote this tune in 1976 while touring Western Canada. The site notes it has been recorded by about 100 artists from all over the world. Make that 101, Ron!  One of the best known versions is by Valdy, and Paul likes to make Jim nervous on stage by mentioning that, “Many in the crowd will have heard that version, and Jim’s is pretty good too.”  Paul once met Ron Hynes at a songwriter’s workshop.  He said he was amazing.  (That is Paul talking about Ron.  But I’m sure the feeling is mutual).

Vocals – Jim & Sheila

Anna – Violin.  Jim – 12 String.  Kathi – Accordion &  Bb Whistle.  Sheila – 6 string.  Paul –Bass.


5       Farewell to Nova Scotia              

Jim says this is Canada’s best known folksong, “So you should all know the words.” We think Sheila’s performance captures the vitality and richness of her lovely voice, and matches up well with any version we can think of.  Vocals – Sheila & Jim

Kathi – Accordion; Sheila – 6 string; Jim – 12 string.  Anna – Violin.  Paul – Bass


6       The Wedding Gift                           

Kathi and Anna brought this lovely tune to the band.  It was written by David Panting of Rawlin’s Cross.  David was very kind to give us the rights to record his tune.  He tells newlyweds via the Rawlin’s Cross site that they are welcome to use it as their first dance, and asks them to send a picture of the wedding.  What a great idea!  That’s Paul “noodling away” in the background on his new black Takamine.   Enjoy the tune, close your eyes and imagine you are dancing with your love!

Anna – Violin. Kathi –  D Whistle.  Paul – 6 string. Jim 12 String

7       Torn Screen Door      

Jim has been a fan of David Francey ever since a piper friend brought back a CD from a gig in Nova Scotia.  Lucky for us, when David tours he stops in small intimate venues, including Saskatoon.  He is the nicest guy who weaves wonderful stories around unforgettable tunes and lyrics.  Go and see him if you can.  This tune is a natural for us here on the prairies.

Vocals – Everyone!


8       Dirty Old Town          

Jim thinks this is a bittersweet love song.  We can lovingly remember even the crummiest places if they belong to us.  Often associated with Irish bands including the Dubliners and the Pogues, it was written by Ewan McColl in 1949 about Salford in Lancashire where he grew up.

Vocals – Jim & Sheila

Paul – mandolin & Bass.  Jim – 12 string.  Sheila – 6 string.  Anna – Violin. Kathi – D Whistle & accordion


9       The Old Polina 

We were so pleased when a fan at a show told us it had been years since she had heard this tune which she learned when she was a schoolgirl in Nova Scotia.  It’s the fourth of seven tunes on the CD that have “maritime” themes.  (Can you name them?)  It starts out like a thousand old time polkas, so grab your partner!

Vocals  – Jim & Sheila and Paul

Kathi – Accordion. Jim – 12 string.  Paul – Bass.  Anna – Violin.  Sheila – 6 string

10     Fields of Gold             

Paul is featured in this tune, along with Sheila’s sweet harmony, but the things we like best are the beautiful whistle breaks and Paul’s mandolin work.  We think when Sting hears this he’s going to ask himself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Vocals – Paul & Sheila

Paul – Mandolin, six string and bass.  Jim – 12 string.  Kathi – C Whistle.  Anna – Violin.  Sheila & Glenn – Percussion


11     Barrett’s Privateers  

This Stan Rogers classic (and which of his tunes are not classics?) is a favourite among our fans.  We usually save it until later in the night when people are more likely to be fortified and ready to sing along on the chorus.  Jim puts down the guitar and grabs a cold drink for this tune, and as a result looks like a Trailer Park Boy!

Vocals – Jim & Everyone!

12     Long Journey Home          

We all move away from home at one point or another in our lives. But we never forget our “home” and we carry our heritage with us as a reminder of that. Immigrants can especially relate to the kind of courage it takes to pick up and start over somewhere else – far away from home.

A tune by Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains and Elvis Costello.

Vocals – Jim, Sheila & Paul.

Anna – violin.   Jim – 12 string.  Paul – bass.  Kathi – D whistle.


 13    Irish Rover                                              

Another classic.  It’s just for fun.  Jim loves to sing this kind of tune. That’s Glenn on percussion again!

Vocals – Jim & Sheila

Anna – Violin.  Kathi – Bb Whistle.  Jim – 12 String.  Sheila – 6 string. Paul – Bass.  Glenn – Percussion.


14     Swallowtail Jig/Morrison’s Jig             

Kathi said, “Everyone plays this combination!”, but it is a sure crowd pleaser and features Anna in her best fiddle style as well as Kathi’s bright soaring whistle.

Anna – Violin.  Kathi – D Whistle.  Jim – 12 string.  Paul – Bass.


15     Summertime

Not generally included in the “Celtic catalogue”, this Gershwin/DuBose song from Porgy & Bess gives Sheila a chance to reach into another of the many genres she is at home with.  We think you will agree she has some great jazz chops.  Anna often stops the show with her bluesy gypsy violin solo.  When we perform this one live, the whole arrangement makes us smile!

Vocal – Sheila

Sheila – 6 string.  Paul – Bass.  Kathi – Accordion.  Anna – Violin.  Jim – 12 string.