When you put Catherine MacLellan, Ashley Condon and Meaghan Blanchard on stage together, you get the P.E.I. "super group" The Eastern Belles — but you also have three busy solo musicians with very different schedules.
That's why the trio chooses to spend their limited time at special events — like the 7th Annual Pie Off & Musical Extravaganza this weekend at The Dunk in Breadalbane, P.E.I.
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"We think the best way is to set aside time every year and have an annual tour that we do and maybe have it leading up to a special event — a special show that we do once a year on P.E.I.," Condon told Mainstreet P.E.I.'s Karen Mair.
The group has a strong connection to the rural venue. Their first show took place there last September — a tribute to The Dunk's founder Hal Mills.
"[Mills] was kind of the originator. He always thought that we should get together and become a band, so it kind of happened organically, but I know he would have been thrilled by that," said MacLellan.
The trio got together through a writing group for P.E.I. musicians.
Since that first show they've been making plans, throwing around ideas like hosting an Eastern Belles craft fair at some point.
"We all go away and we all tour, so we would never actually see each other here at home," said MacLellan.
"It's just really nice to have something that supplements and is a little bit different from our solo stuff," said Condon. "It challenges me in new ways."
'A little piece of all of us'
All three singer-songwriters bring different styles to the group, and draw on their love of country, folk and Americana to give The Eastern Belles a distinct sound.
"It's all very different, so I feel like when we come together it really fuses into a really nice sound," said Blanchard.
"It makes a really well-rounded, kind of like a little piece of all of us in the songs."
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Central to the music is their love of the Island — with one member from each of the three counties. Condon is from Kings County, Blanchard is from Queens County and MacLellan is from Prince County.
"We really do share a love for P.E.I. and we've chosen to live on P.E.I. and work from here and it's not always easy, there is challenges to it, but because we love it so much we make it work," said Condon.
"It's bigger than music, it's about community and collaboration."
Mainstreet P.E.I. airs weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One.