Author Archives: el

Missing playing music

It is quite amazing how quickly time passes and how one can realize it has been ages since picking up a guitar or hitting a drum or even singing a single note. It is also equally amazing how just picking up an instrument and pouring out your heart into song can heal the lethargic soul.  It can make you believe in the power of yourself and help you trust your instincts. Not to mention it can simply make you smile. And a smile can be a powerful thing in a world filled with indifference.

Sammy is opening for Bri-anne Swan at the Supermarket

For one night in Toronto Sammy is playing some tunes.
Our good friend Bri-anne Swan is gearing up to record her new cd and is having a party to kick off the process.
Sammy loves recording so partaking making it happen for someone else is just wicked.
Tuesday May 13th at the Supermarket. The music will start at 9:30.

Ellen was just in A Christmas Carol. Check out the review


December 2013
A Spirited Production
A Christmas Carol
Mini-review by Sean McQuaid

Homburg Theatre, Confederation Centre of the Arts


Charles Dickens’ evergreen 1843 novella A Christmas Carol has been adapted endlessly in various media, including this stage musical penned by revered Charlottetown Festival founder Mavor Moore for Vancouver’s Carousel Theatre in 1988.


Mean, miserly businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Wade Lynch) despises mankind in general and Christmas in particular until the ghost of his dead partner Jacob Marley (Justin Simard) gives him an overdue crash course in human decency, aided by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future (played by Renae Perry, Bruce Cummins and Connor Sharpe, respectively).


Lynch portrays the darker aspects of Scrooge’s character capably enough but shines whenever he finds the humour in the role, sometimes in unexpected places; lines that might read less than hilarious on paper become side-splittingly comical courtesy of Lynch’s expert delivery.

Simard is great undead fun as Marley, but the whiplash-inducing tonal shifts of Perry’s Past ghost feel like two entirely different characters stapled together, while Cummins’ Present ghost is a more coherent but also more pedestrian take on that particular spirit, not especially distinctive.

Other notables include a winningly sympathetic Stephen MacDougall as Scrooge’s long-suffering employee Cratchit, a charming Cameron Cassidy as Scrooge’s lost love Belle, and adroit comedic duo Olivia Barnes & Ellen Carol as cynical servants Dilber & Dobbs.


Limitations of time and space mean I literally can’t say enough good things about Charles Dickens’ original story – wise, funny, spooky, clever, inventive and imbued with a timeless sense of social conscience that makes this classic as invaluably instructive as it is entertaining – and Moore’s adaptation preserves most of the tale’s essentials. The original songs are pleasant albeit seldom memorable, and generally well-executed by director Liz Gilroy and her cast.


For every sequence that soars (like Simard’s bravura fireplace entrance), there are others that land with a thud (like the almost comically anticlimactic revelation of Ignorance and Want huddled beneath Cummins’ robe) or fall tantalizingly short of full success (the Ghost of Christmas Future’s gliding, mist-shrouded entrance works wonderfully until the fog lifts just enough to reveal the wheeled dolly beneath his feet). It all adds up to a spirited and appealing but ultimately uneven take on the Dickens classic.


Ye olde reviewer’s songbird sister Monica Rafuse appears here as Mrs. Fezziwig (and quite effectively at that), so this review is obviously haunted by The Ghost of Christmas Conflict. Factor that into your reading accordingly.

Sammy is gearing up to tour Toronto to Charlottetown. Come join the party.

The excitement is building for “The Amazing” is almost ready for the press. We three Sammy’s are now getting into tour mode. Wantta come with us? Or even join us for part of the journey. All are welcome to experience the release of  ”The Amazing” Sammy’s debut cd.

Here is where you can find us serving up melodies for heros. Come be a hero.

The music keeps pouring out

We three have been on a writing and recording bender in the past 8 months. It has been an interesting process as quite a bit of it was done online. But being this is a new age driven by techknowledgey we jumped on that band wagon willingly. Trying on new tunes and restyling a few oldies but goodies we have come to pick out the best 13 of the bunch. The result you ask… is our new cd that is scheduled to be released in September 2013. Keith currently has the mixing reins and is reeling in the wild horses a little. (but not too much) We are extremely excited to share with you all the product of our musical mayhem.

Just curious… Who else out there has jammed at Micky’s house

Ellen plays at Micky Mouse's house

3 Puppies and 1 Pig

I never seem to lose the awe of driving across a bridge over the ocean. Who was it that thought one day “I think a bridge would be better than a boat”.  Even though the distance is daunting and the water on many days is surf-able, man made this 12.9 km bridge. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to cross this bridge. I kept thinking “we are still on the bridge” 6 songs play before we were finally across. Crazy.

We decided to take the coastal drive to Tatamagoush NS as it was the lesser distance.  As we were driving as the sun set the colours along the coast were magnificent.  The roads were a bit windy but the view made up for the peril.

When we arrived at Fables we were greeted with hugs from Hanna and a warm welcome from her husband Chuck. This venue was impressive on many levels. Not only was the stage set up perfectly to acquire the best sound from any band,  Chuck made the best margarita I have tasted north of mexico (and better than some in mexico) and Hanna served fresh locally grown dining options that blew my tastebuds away. But the thing that really impressed me was it and the town were doing more for the environment than I have ever seen in a Canadian community. The town had installed a windmill and were in the process of adding more. The bar was heated with a air exchanger heat pump which used the same amount of power as a hairdryer.  The community also had their own money as to keep the business local. It was one of the coolest communities I have ever encountered.

Chuck and Hanna also hosted us that evening at their home. We were greeted outside by their 3 golden labs who lead us towards the home on the waterfront where we were to be staying the night. Before entering the house we got the warning “don’t put your hands near the pigs mouth his tusks are razor sharp”. I am thinking “what are we getting into” but off we went to meet the pig. Pourquoi the pig was in his pen relaxing. He had a lot to say when we arrived I was shocked by how articulate he was. The “noises” he made really did sound like a language that I didn’t understand. Pretty wacky. “don’t try and talk pig” Chuck told us “because he gets offended”

Our sleeping area was a loft over the garage that  was decked out with 4 beds a 3piece bathroom and some gym equipment if we wanted to work out. I played goldie locks to pick a bed and found the middle one was just right.

To end the evening we went downstairs to enjoy a ginger beer and some good conversation with our hosts. I picked their brains about their environmental choices as I am really hoping to take a few home with me.

In the morning I came downstair and Pourquoi started chatting to me. I felt if I just walked to the kitchen for coffee that it would be a bit rude so I went over and talked to him a bit (in English not Pig) when he was finished (and he did stop talking which was also a bit strange) I went into the kitchen where I found Cj, Keith and Hanna “It is weird waking up in the morning to a talking pig” I said and they all laughed, then Cj commented “That is exactly what I said”

Weathering the Storm

As the sky darkened and the wind wound up to blow we loaded up the pathfinder to make our way to The Dunk. Luckily we had Garmin along for the ride as I am unsure if we would have been successful in finding this little gem of a venue without her. Down bumpy roads and winding turns our fateful GPS unit told us where to go. As we approached the cabin turned music venue we spotted our opening act Connie Saulnier on the side of the highway so we knew that we needed to stop to help her get her car started, or that we have arrived. Luckily it was the latter as the snow had just begun to fall and the wind was picking up.

We loaded our gear and wares into the cabin and set up for a cozy cottage show. Connie’s set was melodic and thought provoking. It also included a quirky little number that included a Jaw Harp solo that was dedicated to her father.

As we broke into our set mother nature also was singing her own song with a variety of instruments which included slush, snow, ice and wind.

I thought jamming with the storm felt like being a part of one of earths great symphonies. What a great way to spend an evening. Well until the drive home. lol

After thanking our host Hal and saying our farewells to all the folks who weathered the storm to get here (and now home) we loaded up once again and endured the drive back to Charlottetown.

It felt like we were in the first Star Wars movie. I was Hans Solo taking the Millennium Falcon into hyper drive except we were not going anywhere near light speed.

We made it back without incident and are today quite happy our next show is on Thursday, thus giving Mother Nature a few days to calm down.


Sammy’s first recording is here

Come and get the music

2nd Sammy tour, 1st on the East Coast.

Well the cross country band idea turns out to be… not to bad. Last fall we did a little western Canada tour and recorded our debut cd. Now it is mixed and mastered thanks to Keith’s skillful ear and keen musical sense. So now we have begun our East Coast tour quite excited (well Cj and I are excited… Keith doesn’t get excited) about being able to offer some music for folks to take home. We are trying something a bit new this time. We have not printed cd’s we have printed magnets with download codes. So far this novel idea has agreed with our listeners at the two venues we performed at.

The first was Plan B in Moncton NB. This was a laid back little bar  with a kind hearted bartender and music loving regulars. The audience interaction was heartwarming.

The second was a new place in Maitland NS only 1 year old. The crowd in Bing’s Eatery and Social Club started calling friends and telling them about the music as we started playing to get them to come out join the party. Quite the compliment I thought. The food was amazing and the owner, a true music lover, made us feel quite at home.

Tonight we are back on the island and are headed to The Dunk in Breadelbane PE. I have heard wonderful things about this venue and cannot wait to see what tonight has in store.