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"sandman" sandy allen: News

What Matters... - December 15, 2008

"Hard times a'comin' - hard times here for some folks". The DJ on WCNI (Conn. College) said that during his show last week. It's true. I feel it. We all feel it, whether we have stock in Exxon, or are living from day to day, paycheck to paycheck. You probably know someone who doesn't have a paycheck.

I'm counting my blessings these days - sounds corny and old-fashioned, I know, but I put a little time aside every day to remind myself how lucky I am. Lately, I haven't had to work too hard at it. I'm surrounded by people I love, not only at home, but in my working world - close friends with whom I share the gift of music.

The other night the Hoolios played their CD-release gig at Sneekers. I saw a few people I hadn't seen in a while. I had a chance to catch up with some folks, and get a little closer. I hugged a lot. I talked to a friend with a family member battling cancer. I, myself have a dear friend who just underwent a delicate surgery, with as yet uncertain results.

I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet (I usually do mine on Christmas Eve). I guess I wish I could hand out greenbacks like Uncle Scrooge (or dimes, like Rockefeller). I'll be on the look-out for anything that might brighten someone's day, and let them know I care. When I see them, I'll hug them. Maybe I'll embarrass a few people by telling them I love them.

I hope I'm able to spend some time with my family. Mostly, I hope my friend is home for Christmas...

love, peace & harmony,

Hoolio CD Bash... - December 9, 2008

Christmas is comin'. And, believe it or not, so is a CD from one of Connecticut's most original bands. The album has been years in the making (everyone called them "records" when Jim started this project. I think Ron and Bill were in elementary school...). The release will be official this coming Saturday, when the Hools perform at one of their favorite places, Sneekers in Groton. Aside from the regular line-up (Jim, Mikey, Squeezer, Billy, Ron & Sandman) there will be guest-appearances by the lovely Laura Light and the rhythmically gifted Wayne Manca, and maybe more surprises... The fun starts at 8 pm with a set by the Village Jammers (our brothers-in-arms, or is it -fingers?). As always, you can bask in the warm atmosphere and enjoy food and drink, while listening to genre-defying music that's sure to get you movin' somehow. And, obviously, the CD will be available.

In other news... Chris Castle made another whirlwind tour of New London/Groton last week. Sman was lucky enough to sit in at Hanafin's on Saturday ( an energetic, spontaneous set of tunes from all across the universe) and again at Sneekers Sunday for a more laid-back set of Chris's outstanding original stuff. Tony Schaffer played guitar this time (he was the bass man on their last visit). I'm guessing they'd call it a successful trip - they sold out of the "Crazy Wind" CD, and sold a few "Hollow Bones & Monotones" as well. They plan to return in March (St. Patrick's Day?) and HOPEFULLY again next summer for a couple of weeks.

This week Sman is back in the rehearsal mode with HB&HB, as well as his own band Corina & the Wenchmen. Sometime, he'll squeeze in a session with Mikey P. to brush up on some new tunes for their gig at the Tamarack (12/26). And don't forget the Rivergods (Sneekers 12/20, Bean & Leaf 12/27). Hope to see y'all during this festive season. Be well and be kind to each other...

The calendar is filling up - into March already (I think there's something in May!). Gotta love it!!!

LEFTOVERS... - November 29, 2008

Yes, it's that time...Mmmm. It's Saturday morning. The acoustic Hoolios had big fun last night playing at the Tam (Tamarack Lodge) in Voluntown to a small, very appreciative crowd. This is a great place - a little out of the way, but worth the trip. The food is real good, the staff super-friendly. There's a fire in the fireplace - it has the ambience of a hunting lodge in Vermont, or maybe Maine (or Connecticut, I guess). Sometime, I want to get snowed-in there. Maybe next time.

In case you haven't checked the calendar, please note that the Hoolios gig at Fiddleheads (next Saturday) has been postponed - not sure why. It will be rescheduled for sometime in January, or so we hear. If something doesn't come up in the next couple of days, I'm betting you'll find all the Hools at Hannafin's, catching Chris Castle's act.

I'll be taking a drive up to Massachusetts (or maybe New Hampshire- gotta find out which nephew is hosting brunch) today, as soon as I take care of a few errands. Maybe another turkey sandwich for the road...

I hope you all had plenty to share this Thanksgiving. I'm counting my blessings...

love, peace & harmony,

Castle Returns, a Friend Departs... - November 20, 2008

Sman got a surprise phone call last week from Chris Castle, out Ohio-way. Seems he'd booked a date in New London and was debating making the trip - could another gig be found, to make the trek worthwhile? "... see what I can do." A passel of emails over the next few days, and the deal was sealed. Look for Chris to be in the area the first week of December, with his compadre Tony Schaffer on bass and vox. They'll be at Hanafin's (State St.) 12/4 & 12/6, and at Sneekers (Groton) 12/7. Knowing these guys, they'll find a place to play on Friday (12/5) as well. They made their debut visit last August - came to town with one gig booked, and wound up playing four. Sandman had the honor of sittin' in with them once, and has been invited to do so again... can't hardly wait!!!

Tuesday night, Sman went up to East Greenwich to check out the scene at the open-mic at The Greenwich Hotel. Heard some fine talent and played a few songs in the welcoming ambience of this rejuvenated old bar. He's looking forward to hosting the event on December 2nd (and hoping Castle is around!). Keep an eye on the calendar - details shall emerge.

Today has been a day of rest. Yesterday Sandman drove to Queens, NY (and back) to say "Adios" to old friend Charley Martin, who finally succumbed to a long illness. Our prayers go out to his wife (and best friend) Audrey and their wonderful kids.

Charley was my age, give or take... makes me want to play some music! So, tonight it's Sneekers, in the role of one of Jim Carpenter's "friends", or an "Acoustic Hoolio". We really ARE friends - in my personal schedule, I just write "Ahools". Whatever you call us, brave the cold and come help us celebrate something - pick anything you want. Celebrate life. As the Madwoman of Chaillot says, "To be alive is to be fortunate..."

Eureka!!! - November 6, 2008

Well, it happened - we, the people had our say, and the fiasco that has passed itself off as an administration for the last eight years is packing. I am not, by nature, a political person - more a que sera,sera creature (that's "what will be, will be", for the un-Frenchified). I vote, but don't really expect much. This time, however, feels different. It feels good to be a citizen again. Now comes the work, and with hope and prayer, I think the planet will wobble a little less on her axis. That's all about that - just had to throw my hat in the air.

Back to my little orbit; It's been mostly acoustic Hools lately, at Sneekers and the Tamarack. Sandman did have a wonderful show at the BCHH a couple of weeks ago - Corina and the boys ("Wenchmen" Tim & Bret) did a great job, making the ol' Sman sound better than he probably is - they just keep gettin' better. They're eager to learn more tunes, so that'll happen (they inspire Sman to write!). There was a solo gig at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in W. Kingstown, R.I., the night before the BCHH. This gave Sandman an opportunity to play some stuff he hasn't, as yet, arranged for the band, and to exercise the solo chops, further deepening his appreciation for the band. Both approaches (solo/band) are valid and have there place - there are a few solo/nearly-solo gigs in the immediate future (Sman is excited about the upcoming gig at the Tamarack Lodge 12/26 with Mike P. - these two haven't payed as a duo in a year or so). This Saturday (11/8) Sman will be at Fiddleheads Food Co-op, and on 12/2 he'll be at the Greenwich Hotel in East Greenwich, R.I. hosting an open-mic, playing a couple of "book-end" solo sets. Look for more gigs at both of these venues - just getting a foot in the door.

The Rivergods are busy, having done a fun gig at the North Stonington Harvest Festival. They'll be splitting a show at Stashes (11/15) and returning to Sneekers on 12/20.

Hellbent & Heartbreakin' is gearing up for a show with Girls, Guns & Glory - an extended BCHH on Friday 11/14. this will be the fourth (or fifth) time we've shared the bill - always a good time and a great show. HB&HB's CD is in the final stages of post-production, and will be available soon - real soon. Speaking of which...

The Hoolios CD is so close to finished that we've scheduled a CD-release party at Sneekers (Saturday 12/13).

On a sad note, Carl Thompson, father of Curtis (of Village Jammers fame) and Vince (of Vince Thompson fame) passed away recently. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Thompson family.

To all who read this, thanks for tuning in. We, who make music because we must for the survival of our souls, appreciate your patronage and friendship. Keep comin'!!!

Cancellation - October 14, 2008

Sandman's marathon solo gig this coming Friday, "Down on the Corner" in New London has been cancelled. The whole shebang was cancelled, without explanation. One might assume economics are to blame. In any case, don't go wandering downtown N.L. expecting vendors and music and throngs of people enjoying the autumn air. Sman will be catching up on work stuff, preparing for the inevitable advent of winter, and probably catching a nap, preparing for an evening of music as a Hoolio at Sneekers, before which he'll try to get to Bank St. to catch the Jammers at the BCHH. See you there.
In other news; "Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead" is out on DVD. Sman bought a copy, just to hear himself in a movie and see his name in the credits. "Coupe de Ville" plays about 4 minutes in, while the opening credits are still popping up. And in the closing credits - there's his name. Cool. In between some stuff happens. It's predictably dumb and occasionally a little gory (less than I anticipated). How's that for a review? (I'm told there's a modest check in the mail. I'm also told that I won't get any percentage of sales/rentals - so don't buy/rent it on my account).
HB&HB played at the Terra Firma Farm's fundraiser last Saturday. The weather was perfect. So many folks turned out, they ran out of wine (somebody went for more). The pizza was gone in about 10 minutes, and the pig was consumed by sunset. We're pleased to have been a small part of such a successful event, and hope to be back next year.
As usual, I encourage y'all to check the calendar often - Sman is widening his orbit, has some upcoming gigs in Rhode Island and is looking into a few places in New Hampshire.

EEK!!! - October 7, 2008

Today is the scheduled release date for the direct-to-DVD film "Joy Ride 2 - Dead Ahead". So what, you say. Well, fans, it's like this: through the diligent efforts of an old colleague from the Free Beer days, Sandman's song "Coupe de Ville" is in there, somewhere... can hardly wait to see/hear how it's used. I'm gonna buy a copy ASAP - just for posterity. If you rent it or buy it, the ol' Sman just might make a few pennies, and he'll be sure to thank you come Oscar night (O.K., that part is a little far-fetched). He'll be happy to sign your DVD...

Americana Historia - October 3, 2008

In the words of Ken Atkins, "... We did it!". The rain held off and the 1st Annual New London Americana Festival took place last Sunday. Sandman offers a big "Thanks" to all who made it possible; Preston, Ken, Jim & Sherry, Rich - these are the people who organized and hosted the event. To all the bands - well done. To the Hoolios, the Rivergods, and Hellbent & Heartbreakin' - a sincere thanks for including the ol' Sman in your musical vision - it's an honor to be there. To Corina, Tim, and Bret - thanks for watching my back and bringing the songs to life. Speaking of bringing things to life...
The recording of the Sandman show at the O'Neill will NOT be available for public consumption - already it's finding use as a learning tool. Trust me, we'll all be better once we make a few adjustments (live recordings can be SO cruel). Thanks again Jim. Speaking of Jim, and recordings...
A new Hoolios' CD is in the can and will be released SOON! Jim has spent weeks - I mean months - no, make that years - O.K., let's just say he's worked hard for a long time to capture that "Hoolio magic" on record. He's done some great cover-art/graphics (Ben "R'god" Parent is helping to tweak the artwork). The CD should be out later this month. Speaking of CDs...
The Hellbent & Heartbreakin' CD will also be available within the next month or so - we'll keep you posted.
I can't close this entry without mentioning the other show I took part in on Sunday; Ben & Nancy (R'god & goddess) invited me to play at a benefit for the St. Francis House in New London. The event was primarily a send-off for an intrepid group of "peace pilgrims", who, after a meal, some songs, a few prayers and the well-wishes of all present, took their first steps on a walk - to MAINE! Now, anyone who knows me well knows I love a good walk... but that, my friends, is commitment. Keep them in your thoughts.
That's enough news for now. I should mention that the Hoolios are playing Saturday at the Jonathan Edwards Winery at 12:30 pm., and the R'gods will do a set at the Bean & Leaf Saturday night, along with a host of fine folks. So, I mentioned it. Hope to see your smiling faces...

love, peace & harmony,


Americana Postapona - September 26, 2008

We're gonna do our best to pull off the 1st Annual New London Americana Festival on Sunday 9/28/08 (orig. date Sat. 9/27). If all goes well, and the rain leaves when it's supposed to, we should be able to stick to the original schedule.

Hope to see y'all there!

Back from the Island with a Fistful of Dollars - September 23, 2008

HB&HB made their second annual pilgrimage to Martha's Vineyard last weekend (9/19-21). The weather was spectacular (Sman took a swim in the ocean - or was it Nantucket sound?). It was salty and refreshing, whatever it was. Most of the daytime was occupied by people-watching, strolling around town, generally lounging and deciding what to eat. Oak Bluffs is the only town on the island with bars - I believe the rest of the island is DRY. This means the "action" is confined to a small area, and the main street is a continuous flow of hungry, thirsty folks. The Ritz is, by all accounts, the funkiest bar in town - when we told the cabdriver who delivered us from the ferry in Vineyard Haven we were playing there, he expressed some concern for Corina's welfare. We explained "she's our bodyguard". It's not THAT bad. A minor skirmish occurred on Saturday night and the perpetrator enjoyed the hospitality of island constabulary, but we didn't even know about it 'til we took a break. We were having way too much fun entertaining an enthusiastic crowd.
On Friday, a gent came in, listened for about a minute, and threw a fistful of dollars into the path of Preston's ever-present fan. At break-time, he asked for it back. We were disappointed until he said "I wanna do it again - and the barmaid doesn't have any more singles". He repeated the gesture during the second set. As we packed up, he showered us with compliments and said he'd be back the next night. "Bring your friends" somebody said. And yes, someone couldn't restrain himself - "Bring more money". I cringed (we were all thinking it). Anyway, he did. His name is Dave. He's from NYC. He's our newest, biggest fan (we wish he'd be as ever-present as Preston's fan). He's our new best friend.
Jim Carpenter happened to come to the island with his wife Robin to join friends Bob and wife Chris, daughter Lindsey for the weekend. It's always fun to run into friends under such relaxing circumstances. Preston brought his friend Greg for the trip - he'd worked for years out of Woods Hole, and this was his first time on the Vineyard! We hope to get back out there next year.
We all came back home on Sunday, rested up and did the Sandman thing at the O'Neill Monday night. Big THANKS to Preston for doing the sound. We were a little disappointed with the turnout, but those who were there seemed to have a great time. Jim C. recorded the event on a small portable thing - we're hoping some of it is worth listening to, maybe even passing along (Thanks Jim).
This coming weekend brings the Americana Festival at the Hygienic in New London. We're all hoping the weather is cooperative. The Hoolios will be INDOORS, doing the BCHH on Friday. Hope to see your smiling faces...

Harvest Moon... - September 16, 2008

We watched with anticipation as Ike ravaged the Caribbean... was it coming our way? With sympathy for our brothers & sisters on the gulf coast, we breathed a sigh of relief, having been spared yet again - Hanna washed away our outdoor plans last weekend, but didn't hurt. With raingear handy, the R'gods slogged the gear into Sneekers and had a great time last Saturday playing for an enthusiastic, if a little soggy, crowd. Now, as Ike headed elsewhere, the acoustic version of the Hoolios (Jim Carpenter& Friends) played Sneeks Thursday night, HB&HB played the BCHH while the rain came like cats & dogs. Skies cleared on Saturday, and the Hoolios played a wonderful gig in a cornfield under a hazy, nearly full moon. It was a benefit for local farmers, with great food, lots of generous volunteers, and an appreciative audience - the only blot on an otherwise perfect night was the sad news that Bill Light's father-in-law had passed away. Thoughts & prayers for Laura and the family...

After some deliberation, the Sunday afternoon show at the Tamarack Lodge was cancelled. We all hope to be back there playing indoors soon.

Coming up; HB&HB heads to the Vineyard for the weekend. The weather looks good, so maybe a jump in the ocean... next Monday, Sandman takes his show to the O'Neill. Keep listening. We need you.

Here comes Hanna... - September 6, 2008

Just a quick entry (unless I get carried away with the train of my thought). Before I went to sleep last night I checked the email - a message informed me the street fair/farmers market scheduled for today in New London had been cancelled. No surprise here - we'd been watching Hanna's progress up the coast. The Rivergods are a go at Sneekers tonight, so the weekend won't be a total washout. Now, we have to keep an eye on IKE, who's packing a wallop and could put the kibosh on NEXT weekend's happenings (Sman has at least two outdoor gigs scheduled w/ the Hoolios). Well, other parts of the planet have taken a beating from Ma nature while we've been spared over the last few years - we really can't complain. We can use some rain, still, Sandman would rather work playin' music than cleaning up after storms. Be well and we hope to see y'all on the circuit...

Another summer... - August 31, 2008

... is in the books. Here it is Labor Day weekend (Sunday, to be precise). Sandman relaxes, having finished the NY Times crossword (his Sunday ritual - one of his few extravagances). The dogs are hangin' out, wondering if there's any action in the wind, or will it be nap time soon.

Last night HB&HB played a rousing set to a warm, enthusiastic crowd at the Beachcomber, a happenin' club in Quincy, Ma. There were a few other bands on the bill (Cassavettes, Dominic & the Lucid) - the headliner was Girls, Guns & Glory. Nice town, friendly folks, lots of real good original music. We all hope to get back there.

Thurs. & Fri. were fun nights - Jim Carpenter's acoustic Hoolio-type thing was characteristically laid back, with a few of the usual surprises (trick endings, trick keys, trick set list, songs we haven't played in years - or ever). It's always great - keeps us on our toes. Friday brought the whole Hoolio experience, and there were a few glowing moments of spontaneity here, too. Sneekers is like playing in your living room, for a bunch of close friends - gotta love it.

Before the Hoolios deal at Sneeks on Friday, Mike and Sandman did the BCHH with the R'gods, which is always a happening. A receptive crowd kept it rockin' (a little LOUD at times, we're told) for a 2 hr.+ set. There might've been a legitimate call for an encore (I think it was Preston), but Since Mike & Sman had to boogie, the 'gods declined with bows of gratitude.

So now, the season changes, the tourists take what's left of their money and go home, kids of all ages go back to school. There are a few more outdoor festivities, stretching into October (see CALENDAR). Rhonda, the beneficent owner of Sneekers, and a true patron of original music, having decided she LOVES the CD (Horses to Water), has said she will fit Sandman w/ Corina & the Wenchmen into the schedule, so look for us to be there on a somewhat regular basis soon!

So, yes, summer is waning, as it always will... too short, too fast... "Where did it go?". Well, I know we were busy, made some new friends and had a lot of good times. Let's keep them good times rollin' !

As always...
love, peace & harmony,


All My Hats, Again... - August 19, 2008

... Well, almost. Last weekend was big fun and went off without a hitch. There was a blinding downpour on the way to J.E. Winery Thursday evening (probably got about 2 inches of rain in a half hour). Thankfully, the rain stopped just in time for set-up, and although it was mighty damp, a good crowd showed up for the Rivergods show and made themselves at home under the generous cover.
Friday Sandman took his act to the BCHH, fronting "Corina & the Wenchmen". Thanks to an enthusiastic (small) crowd, this one was really satisfying.
Saturday afternoon the Hoolios relaxed at the gazebo in O.M.V. Sman went home, took a swim, changed hats, then headed to Sneekers for a rockin' good time with HB&HB.

It's almost happening again this coming weekend - Fri. starts at Michael's Dairy w/ the R'gods, then continues at Burke's Tavern w/ the Hoolios. Sat. afternoon HB&HB plays a private party, and Sun. the Hools return to the Tamarack Lodge for the afternoon festivities, complete w/ food off the grill, drinks and even swimming! So, the only hat missing is Sman as "frontman"... hope you can come out and catch at least one of these cool bands. Check the calendar for details.

Crazy Wind Shakes New London - August 11, 2008

If you missed it, you were either away on vacation or staying home, not paying attention... Chris Castle brought his small, merry band of monks to town. They arrived on Sunday 8/3, expecting a few days of down time before a gig at the Bank St. Cafe on Friday 8/8.

They'd been shuttling between gigs in New Hampshire and recording sessions at Levon Helm's studio in Woodstock, NY. (The new album "Crazy Wind" is in post-production). Mike P. and Sandman got word they'd arrived and we all made tentative plans to get together, but these guys got BUSY (stayed busy is more like it). There was a trip down to Ridgefield to see Levon and his band, then, back in N.L., Chris booked a gig at the Bean and Leaf (Tues.), a gig at Hannafin's (Thurs. & Sat.).

Sman finally met Chris, Tony and Joe on Thursday, showing up for the Hannafin's debut. There was that great "... like we've known each other forever..." feeling. While Joe (a fantastic guitar player) stood upwind under one umbrella, out of range of second-hand smoke, Sandman, Chris and Tony smoked under another, leading to the inevitable observation - "... three skinny guys... ". Sman stuck around for most of the second set, then headed to Sneekers to catch the last of the Jammers set.

Friday - the Jammers did it up right at the BCHH, living up to there name (they got Vince T. up for a few songs, then surprised Sman by dragging him up for a few). They played a great, energetic two-hour+ set, then turned it over to Chris. These guys are GOOD. The playing is tight, without losing spontaneity, the harmony vox are beautiful, and the songs... well, the songs are brilliant, and Chris' delivery is subtle and powerful. This is an old soul.

Sman played a wedding with HB&HB on Saturday evening. It was a beautiful setting in Old Lyme, the band cooked and a fine time was had by all. Afterwards, Sman stopped at Hannafin's, caught most of the first set, then during the break, dropping a not-so-subtle hint, let Chris know he had his gear - "How'd you like some lap steel on the next set?". Sman finished off the night sittin' in with these guys. What a treat.

Chris will be back this way next spring (March?). If you missed him this time, you really want to make sure to see him then - these guys will only get better. Check out
Now to the more usual news...

This is gonna be another busy week for the ol' Sman, with rehearsals Mon., Tues. and Wed. nights, then the gigs:

Thurs.- R'gods (J.E. Winery)
Fri.- Sman w/ Corina & the Wenchmen (BCHH)
Sat.- Hoolios (Olde Mystic Village)
HB&HB (Sneekers)


Thanks for being there, folks - we couldn't do it without you.

Another Sailfest in the Wind - July 15, 2008

Yes, folks... Sailfest is over for '08. Sandman and friends had a wonderful time, both on and off stage. Sman wandered over Friday night to claim a parking space for the weekend in one of the garages, having learned from past experience that it's easier than hustling around, worrying about getting towed. He's got the hand-truck thing down to a science, so even though he had to carry stuff for three different bands, it was not a big deal (the crowd parts like the dead sea when they see this character reeling & wheeling down the street). After securing the space, Sman roamed the streets and the docks, checking out the Friday night action, before heading home to rest up for Saturday.

Arriving around noon, Sman had a few hours to relax and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the fest, as it geared up for Saturday night and the fireworks. Between wanderings - finding coffee, checking out the vendors' wares, and people-watching (one of his favorite pastimes), he would return to the Hygienic Art Park, where the music started early, and the overall feeling was that of an oasis - a (relatively) quiet, cool spot away from the hustle on the streets. At 3:45, it was time for his solo set, which, by all accounts, he pulled off with a measure of aplomb, and without offending anyone (this took a little self-censoring, and a choice of folky-family-friendly songs).

After enjoying the Jammers' set, it was back to work, first with Hellbent & Heartbreakin', then with the Rivergods - both sets were big fun for us. Heartfelt thanks and kudos to Sherry and Jim for putting this thing on, and to Preston and Rick for handling the sound/stage set-up ALL WEEKEND!!!

Sandman packed up after the R'gods set, did some more roaming and woman- er, people-watching, and found himself down by the main stage for the fireworks. Rather than fight with traffic and burn useless gas, he headed back to the Hygienic, where some of the S.A.M.S. folks entertained for an hour or so. It was a treat to kick back and really relax with the R'gods and some HB&HB folks and Jammers, before heading home.

Sunday was a beautiful, breezy day. Sman parked around noon and got his gear all set up, then followed his Saturday routine for a while, until the rest of the R'gods arrived for a 2:00 pm show. The sound was great, the crowd was enthusiastic - one of the most fun sets we've done in a while ( we should do this more often!). THEN... bagpipes. Always a thrilling, chilling experience. The day capped off with Enter the Haggis - these guys are supreme. The ol' Sandman was even dancin' - couldn't help himself.

Hopefully, we'll all be around for another round next year. I'm gettin' attached to this thing.

Thanks to all of you who were there... for your continued support of live music (local & come-from-away, alike).

love, peace & harmony...

Tough Decisions - July 12, 2008

It was bound to happen sooner or later... with a few of us playing in a few different bands, and with the summer offering a wider range of venues; there have been a few conflicting gigs. Thanks to a cooperative, flexible, mostly tolerant bunch of individuals, we'll be able to pull it off.

July 25th... Sandman will shuttle from the Bank St. Cafe (BCHH) with HB&HB to Sneekers for the Hoolio show.

August 14th... this one got confusing. Originally scheduled for the 7th, the Acoustic Hoolios' regular night in the rotation, Jim C. switched it 'cause he's got travel plans. Then the J.E. Winery invited the R'gods to play. Jim graciously told Mike and Sandman to take the winery gig - not that Sneekers isn't fun, or important, or worthy of serious consideration in such decision-making - but the winery thing only comes up once a year (or so). Thanks Jim. And thanks to Rhonda at Sneekers (I'm sure she'll forgive the confusion - we'll make it up somehow).

There have been a few other close calls, date changes and "how can I be in two places at once..." situations. We strive to avoid these things - it's a challenge.

Today the Sman is off to New London for Sailfest. Has to get there around noon to claim a parking space (hopefully - it's paid for). He'll perform a half-hour solo set around 3:45. Then the Jammers take the stage, followed by HB&HB, then the R'gods. Fortunately, this all happens in one place - at the marvelous Hygienic Art Park on Bank St. It promises to be an exciting and wonderful day.

New Pics - June 23, 2008

Sandman has put a couple of pics up on the photo page... from the BIMF. One of the locals (Steve) took a whole bunch of pics of the Jammers & the Hools. These look like the same old Sman, but the twist is, he's playing with the Jammers - finally, after having been rumored to be one, now I guess he is.

Busy weekend coming up... Thursday, the acoustic Hoolios play at Sneekers (always fun - last week the Rivergods debuted in the Thurs. night spot). Friday, the R'gods play the BCHH, followed closely by the Hoolios (the whole Hools). It all happens at the infamous Bank St. Cafe, starting at 6 pm. Saturday, Sandman will be sliding around with HB&HB at Ocean Beach... festivities begin at 7 pm. Ken Atkins & The Honkytonk Kind share the bill. Meanwhile, tha acoustic Hools will be muddling through (without the Sman's humble contribution) over in Voluntown at the Tamarack. Kinda makes one wish he could be in two places at once... Hope to see y'all at one of these, anyway.

Back on the Block - June 11, 2008

Yes, folks, we did it again... The Hoolios were invited back to the Block Island Music Festival (This was the fifth time for Mike P. & the Sman- the fourth for Jim C.). Last year, the Hools and the Village Jammers played back-to-back, and evidently, it was so good they had to hear it again. Unfortunately, Billy de Light couldn't get away, so the Hools got by without his tasty licks...the Jammers suffered a last-minute drop-out as well - Curtis had to bow out. Sandman was called upon to fill the void. He did his best, with a few songs he'd never heard, in the strangest keys possible...anyhow, a wonderful time was had by all - that "island thing" happened. Those nasty blues Sman was whining about last month melted away in the breezy time warp that is Block Island. The weather was perfect (last year was almost a hurricane). It feels good to be a fixture in this low-key, magical event. Hope they still love us enough to invite us back next year - I'll keep doin' this thing as long as they let me.

Again, thanks to all you visitors to my humble space... I've been out of touch for a few weeks 'cause my computer got caught in a storm... so I got a new one - it's much better.

As usual, I urge you to check the Calendar - I just put a few new gigs up. Love, peace & harmony...

Heavy Traffic - May 22, 2008

Hey Folks -

Big news... this month is the busiest ever here on the Sandman site, having just surpassed last August's numbers. Perhaps this is due to the busy gig schedule in the upcoming months (Hoolios, Rivergods, HB&HB all have lots of summer fun in store - Sman was even able to squeeze in a gig with his band). All this scheduling may have led to folks in all those bands checking the site for conflicts... or, maybe there have been legitimate visits, in which case the ol' Sman feels he owes y'all a fresh bit of prose, not to mention a hearty "Thanks for droppin' by". (sorry, all you fellow bandmates - I'm sure you're all legitimate in one way or another. You just kinda don't count as real visitors).

Sman has the blues. Don't worry (in case you care) - it's sure to be a passing thing. Could be the moon. No, it's not the moon, full & Scorpio though it may be. It's... well, never mind, we won't get into it. Let's just say the old fool set himself up. Yeah, that about covers it.

There will be songs... the best (perhaps the only) good thing about going through such a phase is the creative stuff born of it. Sman's been around long enough to realize there's a lesson here and he'd better be paying attention and soak it up (and suck it up). Hopefully, the music will work it's magic and time will heal.

Speaking of music... last weekend was full of it - Saturday night found the R'gods and the Hoolios at Stashes in New London, warming up the stage for the Lo-fi Radio Stars. It was a great show - all the bands had fun and so far, the reports have been positive. I guess we did OK. Sunday afternoon again had the R'gods & Hools back-to-back at the Norwich Holiday Inn, doing a benefit for fire-victims. Mike P. is still recovering - he not only played with those two, but followed right up with a rockin' Horizontal Hippies' set. Kudos, Bro.

This weekend should be fun; starting Fri. with HB&HB at the Bank St. Cafe for one of those infamous extended Happy Hours, joined by Girls,Guns & Glory and the Paul Brocket Road Show. Yahoo! On Sat. the Hools (acoustic version, sans drums & electric guitar) will be at Fiddleheads in New London (it's across from the "new" courthouse, near The Garde) sometime around noon. The same cast of characters will trek to Voluntown Sat. evening to play the Tamarack Lodge, a very nice venue in a serene country setting - it's well-worth the trip, so we hope to see some familiar faces. On Sunday, HB&HB is playing a private party, returning after a triumphant showing last year (before Sman became a hellbent heartbreaker).

There's something scheduled just about every week in the foreseeable future, so please check the calendar (& check the links) to keep up with where the Ol' Sman will be struttin' his creaky stuff. Right now, he's gonna go dig a hole and plant something (or crawl in?) or split some wood (winter will surely be here too soon), or maybe just take a nap... Thanks for the opportunity to vent. Sharing is so healing.

Thanks... - April 22, 2008

April is winding down. The weather is finally warming up. The season of music in the great outdoors approaches (of course, there'll still be lots of indoor fun, too).

The past month has been a whirlwind, with Sandman rehearsing the band and breaking in the "Allen Wenches" (for those of you who missed the gig at the BCHH, Sman had a couple of talented young ladies on stage, singing background vocals (foxes with voxes). In spite of having had only three brief rehearsals, Gwennie and Charlotte did a fabulous job. We're hoping this is the beginning of a lasting relationship (the girls were recruited from Conn College, where they sing in the a capella choir). Sadly, Gwennie Poor will graduate next month and move on to real life elsewhere. Charlotte Oldman will be back and we've asked her to recruit future "wenches". I must say the girls took it all very well, this being their first experience with a band - lesser souls would've withered (a band is like a family, with the ever-present teasing and occasional bawdy humor). So, kudos to the wenches.

Now, to the benefit... big thanks to all who came out, donated, and otherwise supported Operation Happy Note. The Instruments of Hope benefit took place on April 13th and was attended by a couple of hundred. Apparently, over $3,000 was raised, and somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,000 worth of instruments donated. Barbara Baker, who started the whole thing a few years ago in Minnesota, was genuinely surprized at the response here. If you weren't there, and would like to know more about it, go to

That's it for now... enjoy the Spring - we'll be complaining about the heat before we know it - go out and hear some live music. It's good for your soul !

Important Gigs... - April 1, 2008

They're all important. But these have particular weight. First, and certainly weightiest, there's the upcoming benefit (Sun. 4/13) at the Pawcatuck VFW. Find out all about it by going to the "Press" page on this site, and visit
Sandman will be there with his band, in really good company.
On April 18th, Sman & the band return to the BCHH at the Bank St. Cafe in New London (that's Ct. - for all the fans in Vermont, or is it New Hampshire?...). We're hoping for a surprize at this one, but the less said the better (don't wanna put the kaibosh [?] on it). I can say there will be some brand new, never-before-heard songs - the "Vivian Trilogy" is finally complete! It could be worth the trip just to hear that...
On Wed. 4/9, Sman will be appearing (well, audible anyway) on Rodeo Joe's morning show on WCNI (90.9 FM). The show runs from 6 to 9, so the ol' Sandman is getting in training, rising early, choking out a few tunes with the first birds, before sunrise. Joe (probably not his real name - there's some question) assures us that 8 a.m. will be a fine time for the actual live performance... still, haven't done a show that early since the days when I was still up from the previous night. Coherence may be an issue (at least the nasty sinus infection is gone, thanks to modern medicine, and what one doctor called "tincture of time". Just the usual healthy cough, now). Tune in and cheer us on - we need good vibes.
Thanks to those of you who came to see the Hoolios at the "O'Neill" - still Sman's favorite venue - good to see familiar faces.
Speaking of venues... Sman travelled to Greenwich, Ct. last week (with Bret Farrar) to play a first-time gig at a wonderful place called Thataway Cafe. The folks there (there ARE "folks" in Greenwich!) took really good care of us and will have us back. HB&HB trekked up to the Shorebreak in Narragansett, RI for a gig with Josie Crosby's band Signs of Life... not exactly a country bar (the tiki torches gave it away), but an enthusiastic crowd gave us a warm reception. Who knows, we might've opened some minds about "real" country music. We had a great time and I know we turned a few people on.

Let's hope Spring catches up to the calendar SOON. Cabin-fever gets mighty old with all this daylight. Hope to see y'all around. Keep supporting live, original music.

love, peace & harmony...

Battling the Bug - March 10, 2008

It's goin' around...and around, and around... Just when you think it's gone, it comes back, maybe somewhere else (head, chest, ears poppin', nose runnin'). These days, when we get together for a rehearsal or a gig, it's the first topic of conversation; "What stage are you in? Can you sing that part (without choking)?"

In spite of the pesky, persistant bug, we soldier on, Hellbent and Hoolio alike (Rivergods are in recent childbirth/sick yunguns/standby mode).

Jim's acoustic deal is on at Sneekers this Thursday eve (the Hoolios sans drums and lead guitar). I mention this 'cause it wasn't on the calendar until this morning (just now). Scheduling confusion, due to Jim's recent vacation, whereon he caught something which tangled up his mind - counting third Thursdays becomes a difficult problem when you've missed a few.

The rest of March holds a variety of Sandman activity, including a premier solo performance in Greenwich, Ct., a couple of HB&HB gigs, and several Hoolioperas...check the calendar.

Hope y'all are healthy. Remember, Spring is almost here!!!

Last/Next weekend(s) - February 19, 2008

Last Friday once again found HB&HB at Bank St. Cafe, headlining an extended BCHH. Graig Edwards opened things up with a strong set of traditional acoustic stuff. Next came Sawbuck, a New Haven-based trio (guitar, bass, drums), rookies to the Happy Hour. A great set of original songs - a high twang-factor here. We hope to see more of them. Hellbent & Heartbreakin' finished off the night. As usual, a grand time was had by all.

This coming Friday, Sman will be down the street at The Bank St. ROADHOUSE with the Hoolios, and on Sat., across the bridge in Groton, at Sneekers, also as a Hool... guaranteed to be a good time - Jim just returned from a (mostly) relaxing vacation down in the warm south, so the band is anxious to get him working again.

Come on out...

Busy Weekend - February 11, 2008

Last Friday was a marathon for Sman... the BCHH began with a rockin' set from Craig Edwards and his Zydeco band, The Swamp Doctors. HB&HB took the stage and kept it goin' - their second set was a bit longer than planned, as the Rebel Riders were wending there way through the streets of New London, unfamiliar with the lay of the land. They did arrive, got set up quick and launched right into their set, with Sandman sittin' in on steel (must say the Sman was a little anxious - these guys have played with some MONSTER pedal-steel cats). Apparently, he did OK - nobody kicked him off the stage, and he made it through the entire night.

Saturday night most of HB&HB (sans Brett & Todd) made the journey north to Providence, to check out The Empire Diner. This is a very cool venue, run by the folks in Lucky 57, one of the areas finest roots bands. They've been hosting a series called "Your Roots Are Showing" for 4 or 5 years now, in different venues. They finally got worn out looking for places to do it and got there own - a vintage diner at 777 Elmwood Ave., complete with home-cookin', ezpresso/cappucino, pretty, friendly waitresses and an intimate music room. We were treated to three acts; two from Boston, followed by the Lucky ones themselves. It was a refreshing scene (much like the BCHH at Bank St.). Next month HB&HB will perform there (3/8), again with the Rebel Riders. Unfortunately, Sman has a previous gig (Hoolios at Sneekers) but he will be playing there in the near future (there's a promisory email to prove it!).

This Friday, it all happens again at the BCHH - with a new line-up. Check the Calendar...
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