Category Archives: Tour Blog

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.

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 tour details for Fall 2013 in eastern Canada

sammy band winter picnic

Sep 23, 2013: Grumpy’s bar
9:30 pm
1242 Bishop Street
Montreal, QC H3G 1S6
(514) 866-9010
Sep 24, 2013: The Celtic Fox
7:00 PM
Woodstock, NB, CA
37 Clark St, Woodstock, New Brunswick E7N 1A5
(506) 328-6207
Sep 25, 2013: Plan B
9:00 pm
Moncton, NB, CA
212 St. George St. , Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 1V7
(506) 384-2019
Sep 26, 2013: The Company House
2202 Gottingen Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA
A night you don’t want to miss, featuring the amazing Toronto indie-rock outfit The Cheap Speakers, along with This Ship, Adam Mowery and the amazing Sammy!
Doors at 8:30pm
Music at 9pm
Sep 27, 2013:Bing’s Eatery & Socialhouse
6:30 pm
Maitland, NS, CA
8913 Hwy 215, Maitland, Nova Scotia B0N1T0
902-261-3287 (EATS)
Sep 30, 2013:Baba’s Lounge
9:30 pm
Charlottetown, PE, CA
81 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 4L1
(902) 892-7377
Oct 2, 2013: James Joyce Irish Pub
8:00 pm
Fredericton, NB, CA
659 Queen Street, Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5A6
(506) 450-9820
Oct 3, 2013: Avant Grande Bar
Ottawa, ON, CA
135½ Besserer St.
Oct 5, 2013: The May
Analogue to Digital
9:00 pm featuring:
blueVenus - Alternative Pop/Rock with Jazz and Latin influences
Sammy - The Official Toronto CD release performance!
Tricky Mouse - Music by computers, for computers.
DJ Chrisal1n - Electronologue Acoustifunk
87 Dundas West
Toronto, ON, CA

Music, money & creativity in the age of the internet!

Can’t say that I’m familiar with Amanda Palmer’s music, but I find her approach to getting paid for it interesting.

We’ve been struggling a little with that these days. As one of the members of our band who is also known as Tricky Mouse was recently asked for licensing information regarding some songs being placed in film. Having been previously burned before by a publishing/licensing company and having recently delved into software and internet art “creative commons” licensing and how effective and creatively dynamic it can be, we find ourselves with more questions than answers… but exciting questions!!!

What, if anything, should we be selling? Historically it was never the physical copies of the music that made a musician money, it was the touring, the t-shirts, the Victorian Age sugar daddies… Some interesting insights all over the place. downloading music?

We will keep you posted!

The Members of Sammy Enjoy a Winter Picnic Somewhere in Canada

sammy band winter picnic

MMMMM, donuts… tea and expounding…  What more can one ask for in an outing, other than sunshine, warmth and green grass?  Oh well!  Maybe in July.  Passing through Toronto, Sammy managed to squeeze in a photoshoot with the talanted and imaginary Teri Quinn.

Actually, I meant imaginative! Artist and photographer T. Quinn, who is known primarily for landscapes, agreed to shoot us as long as we just inserted ourselves into a scene she was already pointed at.  A few (dozen) donuts and a story later and we left feeling full of sugar and good intentions.   We crashed an hour later and had to sleep them off.

Winter picnic advice:


  • hot water, tea and coffee
  • protein !
  • checkered blanket or water proof tablecloth
  • change of clothes for your wet ass
  • climbing gear


  • your cat
  • your computer
  • a sarcastic photographer
  • anyone, really


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.

Sun, art, music, a view of the lake & organic red wine

Can’t ask for too much more in a gig! One of the more unique festivals as there is a “hobbit” house built underground with a fire inside you can sit around. From the top it just looks like the grass is smoking. Later there is dj dancing in the pyramid surrounded by kegs of wine waiting to age. I am happily getting my first real sunburn of the year and anticipating an awesome show at 10 pm when the sun sets and the energy rises.


Baba’s Here We Come!

We are havin’ a party, Sammy’s last official night in Charlottetown and the conclusion of our East Coast tour.  We can also walk to our accommodations from the bar…. yeeahhhh!


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”