Tue, Jun 24, 2014.
Busy times in PEI, if you're on the Island or headed that way soon. First off, there's a special show tonight (Tuesday, June 24), featuring some of the best PEI musicians, for an important person in the music scene there. Lloyd Doyle has devoted much of his life to promoting PEI artists, including managing, booking, and owning Sandbar Music, which has distributed lots of different albums. He's also been instrumental in developing Music PEI, and working to develop the grant system for artists. In short, indispensable.
Doyle has run into serious medical issues, and is now facing a lengthy recovery. So his musical friends have come together for a benefit concert tonight at the PEI Brewing Company at 8 PM. Performers include Dennis Ellsworth, Meaghan Blanchard, Tim Chiasson, John Connolly, Dan Currie, Katie McGarry, Eyes For Telescopes, Haunted Hearts, Chas Guay and some very special surprise guests. There's also a silent auction and 100 per cent of the proceeds go to help Lloyd.
For years, tourists have been flocking to the musical production of Anne Of Green Gables, but now there's a new Island show featuring another beloved character. Okay, Lennie Gallant's no character, he's a real-life, real good songwriter and of course, the pride of Rustico. He's now starring in the production Searching for Abegweit: The Island Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant. It premieres June 28 at The Mack theatre, part of the Charlottetown Festival. It's described as a musical hybrid of songs, funny stores, legends and projected artwork. Gallant will perform some of his PEI-themed songs, including Peter's Dream and Tales of the Phantom Ship.
And today's the day the DVD is released of the Music PEI production, Snowbird: The Songs Of Gene MacLellan. It's taken from the concert held in January of 2012 to pay tribute to the Island's songwriter, who penned the iconic Anne Murray hit, plus Ocean's smash Put Your Hand In The Hand, as well as The Call, Bidin' My Time, and many others. The concert has been aired on both CBC Radio and TV, has been released as a CD, and now comes the broadcast version of the event. Taped in a beautiful church in Charlottetown, the evening was hosted by MacLellan's daughter Catherine, who also performs three songs here. She's joined by Lennie Gallant, Dennis Ellsworth & Haunted Hearts, Meaghan Blanchard and Ron Hynes, who performs his famous tribute to MacLellan, Godspeed. The show is well made, with strong sound and a warm stage and audience shots, plus a few well-chosen interview clips and moments from the stage. But at under an hour, there were also several moments from the live show that didn't make it into the broadcast, and it would have been nice to those added, including extra performances and a video tribute taped by Anne Murray. However, if you weren't there, this certainly gives you a feeling of the warmth and love the Island paid to MacLellan that night.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).