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Country Prose
by Charlie Hansen

Neil MatthewsOctober brings us closer to winter and the I see the geese heading south. Other species of birds will be heading south in the not too distant future as well and I intend to be with them, but before I go I’d like to let you know what’s going on in the local music scene.

Neil Matthews has finished his CD, Back in My Country Days, and it’s on the market. This CD is a compilation of 13 songs that Neil has written and a couple of covers. The covers are “Funny How Time Slips Away” and “Wind In The Willow.” The remainder of the songs are eight songs that Neil wrote over the past winter and five songs that have been released on previous CDs. All in all this is a good effort and features many great Island musicians. The list includes George MacPhee on guitar, Freddie Arsenault on guitar, Paul Chandler on keyboards, Peter Burke on harmonica, Billy Matthews on snare drum as well as Julie Matthews and Gloria Rodgerson—Warren on vocals. This CD is well worth a listen and I know you’ll be pleased with the local flavour of Neil’s writing.

Although the regular run of ceilidhs is pretty much over for the season there is still one that is pretty much a year round event. Judy MacLean’s Sunday Night Shenanigans is still a very well received event happening at the York Hall every Sunday evening. Judy features, not only a great array of local talent, but talent from many parts of the world. The event has been going on for a number of years and let’s hope it keeps going for many years to come.

I had the opportunity to play at the lovely MacPhail Homestead in Orwell a couple of weeks ago and this is a PEI treasure not to be missed. The homestead is nestled in the woods just off the Trans-Canada highway in Orwell and well worth the left turn if you’re coming from Charlottetown. Of course turn right if you’re coming from Wood Islands.

The homestead has guided tours, a tea room as well as entertainment. Here is an excerpt from the homestead web site that can explain all this much better than I.

“Explore the grounds at the Macphail Homestead to find Dorothy’s Playhouse, the original cracked bell from the Valleyfield Church and the entrance pillars from the engineering building that burned to the ground at McGill University in 1907.

"Take a guided tour of the house, see the displays of historical artifacts and learn about the many engaging guests that visited in the early 1900’s, when the homestead was truly a destination by socialites such as Earl Grey, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Stephen Leacock, and John MacRae.”

If you get a chance, by all means do yourself a favour and visit the MacPhail Homestead before the season ends.

Until next month don’t forget to support live country and bluegrass music and listen to Bluegrass Island every Sunday evening at 9 pm on CFCY FM 95.1 in Charlottetown, PEI and on the web at

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