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Notes from the Road
by Catherine MacLellan

Singer-songwriters at an Island Affair: Nudie, Emilee Sorrey, Josh Carter, Katie McGarry (photo: ©pixbylorne)Fall has always been my favourite time of year. I like the process of getting ready for winter; stacking wood, cleaning house, getting out the hats and mitts and all that. It is a time of preparation, harvest is over and the long nights have returned. We all go inside for warmth and comfort, and suddenly the busy summer crowd is gone and the community potlucks and gatherings of small groups of friends are back.

December for me is also a time when playing shows slows down for the holiday season, a nice break from the constant travel that my life has become. Our one goal this month is to record my next album, get it going and have it ready for next spring, which seems a long way off, but time spins faster these days. We’ll head to Woodstock, NY to work with our friend Danny at his house in the woods. It’s a beautiful spot and seems like and extension of the Dixon Road, in the woods by the river.

It has been a busy fall, with touring in Europe and England, finishing up songs for the record, and so many local events. It was a real treat and honour to be a part of the Q taping for CBC at the Confederation Centre and also lovely to see the national spotlight shining on PEI for a brief moment (other than the Duffy scandal.) There was a real sense of Island pride around that, and Jian Gomeshi, as always did a terrific job interviewing his guests.

As I write this I am just getting home from MusicPEI’s show at the Factory, An Island Affair. It was a songwriter’s circle with a twist: each performer played one of their own songs as well as two by different Island songwriters. It was a fantastic show, and I was honoured and humbled to have one of my songs covered… The show was a fundraiser for Music PEI, which, in these times of government cut backs, is sadly a necessity in order to keep all of the great programs in place and keep the momentum that they have been building in support of our local music scene.

There are cutbacks happening on every level of government and in every part of our society, most drastically in the arts, environment, health care and social welfare programs. I can only hope that in the next few years we find a way to reverse this trend and make sure that our priorities are in the right places.

I’ve been turning my mind from music to mental health and wellness these days and have some exciting new projects in that realm that I’ll be able to share in the coming months. I believe the focus should be on prevention and compassionate care in order to truly and adequately help people suffering from mental illness. This is a concern very close to my heart due to my own experiences and those of my friends and family. We have all been touched by this growing epidemic and I can only hope that changes from government and, more importantly, from grassroots organizations can buck the trend and begin to heal our society as a whole. With time, inspiration and hard work, anything can happen.

For now, I will try to remember that December is a time for celebrating family and getting in the rhythm of winter, as things slow down and the fires are lit. We all have so much to give to each other and our communities, whether it is through donations to charities or just being there for one another in various ways. I wish you all a joyous holiday season, and a safe and cozy winter!

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