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"sandman" sandy allen: News

Calendar Changes - January 26, 2008

UPDATE: Due to some scheduling difficulties, a couple of the BCHH line-ups have changed... as of this writing, HB&HB will appear on both 2/8 & 2/15. Lucky 57, previously announced as the other act on 2/8, will not be able to make it (we'll get them in there sometime). Corina has saved the day - the Rebel Riders, a hot, swingin' outfit from the Boston/Providence area will be closing out the night.
Stay tuned for further updates/details. And remember - there's always somebody you want to hear at the BCHH!!! 6-8pm every Fri. at the Bank St. Cafe.

Great night at The O'Neill - January 22, 2008

Wow!!! We could get used to this...last night HB&HB played to a full house at the marvelous Rose Theater Barn on the Eugene O'Neill campus in Waterford. I've said it before - this place is a gem... I look forward to every gig there, and when it's over I can't wait to get back. I guess I'll have to (wait, that is). I'm hoping to be back in Feb., or Mar., or maybe May. Thanks to all who came out on a cold, cold night to support the band and the O'Neill.

A RETRACTION: Horses to Water will not be available for download at cdbaby...after beginning the process, we realised that it cannot be in two places at once - IT IS available at
So, there you are... if you want to download it, you can do so at that site.

Sandman hopes to see y'all at an upcoming gig. Keep en eye on the schedule - new gigs are coming up almost daily !

SRO at Bank St. - January 21, 2008

Last Friday (1/18) Sandman played at the BCHH for the first time - he's played there before, but this was his first gig with his own band (actually, it's Preston's band, or most of it). Corina, Bret & Tim were great, as was Todd, who sat in on a few songs. It really was standing-room-only, which of course makes the whole thing more fun & energetic. For those of you who missed it, we'll be back for more, probably in Feb. Keep watching the calendar.

This coming Fri. Sman will be one of two or three performers at the Brooklyn Coffee & Tea House in Providence. The gigs keep coming ! Stay tuned.

Wintery Conditions... - January 14, 2008

...That's what we've got today (1/14/08) and that's what they're saying for this coming Friday, when Sandman will debut his band at the Blue Collar Happy Hour (see calendar for details). Unless it's strictly dogsled & snowshoe, blizzard conditions, we'll be there. Hope to see y'all there, too. The band has been rehearsing - feeling good about the music and the opportunity to get it out there for for your consideration (hopefully for your listening pleasure!).

Last Friday, the R'gods played to a packed house - gratitude goes out to Preston Frantz for running the sound, and for keeping the BCHH going (big thanks to Ken Atkins, also). It's an all-too-rare opportunity for bands to play their original material for an appreciative audience.

Speaking of Preston, his band Hellbent & Hearbreakin' has spent much of the past week recording at Eddy Shea's place - a great, relaxed atmosphere. Good things are coming out of the sessions. Eddy will be back on the road soon, so tweeking & mixing will have to wait for a while - a CD should be ready for release by late spring/early summer. We'll keep you posted.

Download Hto H2O - January 8, 2008

Sandman has finally gotten around to making his CD "Horses to Water" available for download. Just go to cdbaby...

In other news... The R'gods played to a packed house at Muddy Waters (New London,12/28). Ben was suffering with a cold, but soldiered on, trouper that he is. The show was recorded and you can hear some of it at
The R'gods will be at the Blue Collar Happy Hour this Friday 1/11. Hope to see you there.
Hellbent & Heartbreakin' is in the midst of recording tracks for a CD to be released (?) - it all depends on how things go this week.
Keep an eye on the calendar - new things are coming up every day.

New Gigs - December 26, 2007

It's become an annual event; the Rivergods at Muddy Waters in New London 12/28. The R'gods will also return to the BCHH at the Bank St. Cafe 1/11 - this one was originally scheduled for 1/18, until Mike P. realised he'd double-booked himself. The 18th will PROBABLY find Sandman at the BCHH - details in the works. Keep an eye on the calendar.

In other news... HB&HB will be recording on Jan. 5th & 6th, hoping to get at least four new tunes down. Sman will possibly put steel parts on previously recorded tracks (time-permitting).

By the Time We got to Woodstock... - December 16, 2007

... we were half a dozen strong. And , boy did we have fun! The Colony Cafe is a beautiful place, a friendly, family-run business right downtown Woodstock. There was a blazing fire and good, hot soup and coffee, dreamy, creamy desserts. Then there was the blues. Michael and his band played a tight energetic set - Sman felt right at home and even accepted Michael's invitation to play some mandolin leads. Professor Louie showed up and added piano to the mix, and (his wife?) Marie sang a couple. A couple of old friends from the NYC days ('way back when) came to see us, and that was about it. C'est showbiz. We all had fun, the roads were clear, we beat the storm home.

No Hools tonight !!! - December 14, 2007

If anybody reads this - I mean actually read the last one and came back again the same day to read this - I'll be shocked. Eat my hat shocked... I've got a lotta hats... but I digress.

Jim has a mysterious bug. He apparently picked it up in Nashville (a buggy town if ever I saw one). Hopefully, he'll make a full recovery and be tip-top for next weeks agenda (Sneekers Thurs. 12/20, Hanafin's Fri. 12/21)

Vermont - December 14, 2007

Hellbent & Heartbreakin' made the trip to Killington last weekend. We lucked out with the weather - smooth ride both ways, plenty of snow in Vt., with flurries every day.

Back in the '70s Sandman lived up there (in Waitsfield)for almost a year, so there were moments of nostalgia, recalling Jesse Winchester's "Yankee Lady";

"I lived with the decent folks in the hills of old Vermont
Where what you do all day just depends on what you want
I took up with a woman there, when I was just a kid
I smile like the sun to think of the lovin' that we did..."

So much for flashbacks...

After a warm welcome, the band got right to business, setting up and doing a quick soundcheck. Everyone settled into their rooms. Sandman found Angela (Easterling). The two of them shared confidence and agreed there was no real need to rehearse her stuff with the band.

Showtime... HB&HB opened and got 'em goin' with about an 80-minute set, then Preston turned the stage over to Angela, HB&HB backing her up admirably - there were a few shaky moments, but overall, it was a strong set. After a short (well-deserved) break, everybody (Preston incl.) returned for a sort of free-for-all set of classic country standards. As good as the music was, the high point of the night may have come afterwards - it took some arm-twisting and cajoling, but eventually Chef Tom agreed to raid the kitchen, presenting the band with his own recipe Maple/Walnut/Blackpepper pie. We all sat by the fire, enjoying the simple pleasures of a cold New England night.

Saturday was a relaxing day... Sat. night another, similar show, with some sonic boogiemen and technical anomolies. Good talk, stories and bonding after the show (Preston suggested we all get in the hot tub - Angela handled it like a trouper, gently putting him, and for that matter, each of us, in his place..."You think I haven't been around guys in a band before?"). It turned out to be an impossible dream, anyway... the hot tub is locked up at night.

Sunday a.m., breakfast, pack it up and on the road by about 10:30. Home late afternoon. It was a fun trip... we'll probably be back up there next summer.

Tonight (12/14) Sman will be doing a mini-tour of New London, starting at the Bank St. Cafe with HB&HB (6pm), finishing up at Hanafin's with the Hoolios

Happy Hoolidays - November 24, 2007

Still recovering from Thanksgiving, loving the leftovers... The Hoolios returned Friday (last night) to Hanafin's Pub in New London. The Squeezer was back (he's been nursing wife Vicki, who had a knee operation last week). So, in full force, the Hools offered up their unique brand of LatiCajuRooticanaFoRo to an appreciative crowd. The Hools are scheduled twice in Dec., and will likely be there on a fairly regular basis 'til summer draws folks back to the beach. Keep an eye on the calendar.

News from NYC... the live recording of Michael Packer's Blues Band at Lucille's is out on emusic (Sandman is there on Mandolin & vocals - there are a couple of Sman songs on there too). Check out Michael's site ( for more info.

Don't hold your breath, but expect new offerings from The Hoolios, The Rivergods, and Hellbent & Heartbreakin' - all planning recording projects over the next few months. With winter coming, Sandman, too, is planning to settle into a recording routine of his own. Thanks for looking in... stay in touch. Have a safe and unstressful holiday season. As always...
love & peace

Back from NERFA - November 15, 2007

Sandman made the drive to Monticello, NY last weekend (11/9,10,11) to attend the NERFA conference. His first time there, he didn't know quite what to expect... it's a large gathering of folkie folks representing all aspects of the folk-music trade, held annually at a resort hotel.

Sandman got word Friday morning, before leaving, that old friend Sheila had passed away Thursday night. This sad news tempered his mood all weekend, and so the whole thing was probably more festive than he perceived. There was some real fine music and nice folks. The highlight for Sman was connecting with some other R.I. songwriters. And there was the snow... about 5 inches Friday night, mostly gone by Sunday noon. The trip home was a pleasant drive through the last fading colors of autumn in the NY hills.

Monday night it was back to work... the pleasure of playing at the O'Neill Theater Barn with the Rivergods. Sandman will be back there in Jan. with Hellbent & Heartbreakin', and (tentatively) in Feb. or Mar. with his own thing. There's a date with Michael Packer & his band in Woodstock, 12/15, details TBA.

Keep an eye on the calendar... hope to see you out there somewhere...

love & peace

HB&HB on the Vineyard/ R'gods at the O'Neill - November 3, 2007

Hellbent & Heartbreakin' had a great gig on Martha's Vineyard (10/26,27). In spite of dreary weather (Fri) and game #3 of the Series (Sat), the band was hot and enjoyed an entusiastic response... sounds like we'll be back for a return engagement. Last night HB&HB filled in for Ken Atkins opening for the lengendary Wanda Jackson at The Bank St. Cafe (Ken's daughter was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her, and to the Atkins family).

The Rivergods will play at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Barn on Mon. 11/12 from 7-10 pm. We're really looking forward to this one - it's one of the coolest places to play in the area.

Keep an eye on the "Calendar" page for more new dates.

Full Time Work - October 20, 2007

Well , folks... Sandman is in the midst of a busy week. This writing comes a little late to get y'all to some gigs - there were some last minute bookings, and with a hectic daytime schedule (alas, in this imperfect world, the Sman must actually work!) there has been no opportunity to catch up here. So now, the update:
Last Saturday, a fundraiser for Terra Firma Farm, a local (Stonington,Ct.) organic, family-run outfit... pig roast, bonfire, raffle, music by Hellbent & Heartbreakin' . Seriously chilly - Sman had to sit on his slide warm it up. Wednesday the R'gods played to appreciative pedestrians & passing motorists (some ran the red light in their distraction - see in the parking lot of Grampy's Deli on Bank St. for the New London Food Fest. Not chilly, but with about 90 percent humidity, sticky strings & tuning dilemma. Back inside Thursday night, with the "acoustic" Hoolios (sans elec. guitar & drums). Last night, Hellbent shared the stage on the pier in New London with Ken Atkins & The Honkytonk Kind and Dogbite for the firefighters' fundraiser. A few hearty souls braved the storm (more rain than we've seen for 3 or 4 months!). It wasn't quite Woodstock, but the tent provided great shelter and made the applause sound like thousands.
All in all, it's been a great week - the "off" nights were all spent rehearsing... the Hoolios' CD is close to completion (in time for Christmas?). HB&HB plays this evening at a private party, heads to Martha's Vineyard next weekend, and will probably be recording early next year. The R'gods are getting back in stride (a semi-hiatus due to babies & job obligations seems to be ending) and they'll be gigging more and probably recording soon.
And then there's Sandman, the solo artist... he's worked up a set with the Hellbent band and will be adding songs. He'll be spending a weekend at the NERFA conference in Monticello, NY in a couple of weeks. There are new songs in the works (always) - he plans to record a solo CD this winter. Check the Calendar for updates. Stay tuned... love & peace

Here comes October - September 26, 2007

It's officially autumn... the leaves are beginning to show signs of the season, and the outdoor festival scene is winding down. But WAIT...there are a few opportunities to catch some great music in the great outdoors. The Jonathan Edwards Winery is holding its annual harvest fest Oct. 6th & 7th. The Village Jammers (one of 5 or 6 bands in which Mike Palazolo plays bass) will appear at noon (Sat. 10/6). Sun. 10/7 the Hoolios will be there, also at noon.

Oct. 17th the Rivergods will be performing at the Food Fest , somewhere on State St. in New London, from 5-8 pm (or thereabouts). More details soon.

Back indoors...Later in the month (26th, 27th) Sandman will head across the water to Martha's Vineyard for a two-nighter at The Ritz in Oak Bluffs with Hellbent & Heartbreakin'. The band has worked out a few of Sman's songs...last Fri. played to a rowdy, appreciative crowd at Bank St. Cafe.

More in the works. Stay tuned...

Sandman Slides - August 29, 2007

Sandman has added another gig to his busy schedule - after sitting in on pedal steel at a few gigs with Preston Frantz' band "Hellbent & Heartbreakin'", the Sman actually made it to a rehearsal, which I guess makes him officially a member of the band. Two gigs coming up on Labor Day weekend (private parties), a big show at the Bank St. Cafe 9/21 (Preston has graciously offered his band to Sandman, to perform a few songs), and two nights on Martha's Vineyard (another party?) in Oct...all in addition to a reasonably busy Hoolios schedule, a return solo engagement at Carson's in Noank (9/14) and some other pending dates. Summer disappears faster every year - why can't February go this fast?
Also of note: A great gig (8/19) in NYC, at Lucille's, in the heart of Times Square... Sman had the distinct pleasure of playing with some real troupers, sitting in on mandolin with old friend Michael Packer and his blues band. More such outings shall happen as schedules allow. Stay tuned...

Good Times at Carson's - July 28, 2007

Well, folks...Sandman played Carson's in Noank last night (Fri 7/27) to a wonderfully attentive & appreciative crowd. This concert series is a real sleeper. There's a genuine smalltown ambience... folks turn up right from work, or all groomed & ready for an evening out. They perch on the stoops across the street, or on the curb. Some bring chairs, some sit at the tables provided. Kids on skateboards drop by for ice cream, passing cars slow down for a listen as they drive through town. Friendly waitresses make the rounds. There's music every Friday from 6-8 pm. Spread the word.

Sandman was real happy that Mike was able to join in the fun (at the last minute, he realized he could do this one & still make it to his gig in Groton - Thanks, Mikey). Thanks to Barbara Kelly & the entire Carson's staff...they want us back! Stay tuned...

Whirlwind Weekend - July 18, 2007

Well, folks, Sailfest '07 is in the books...the weekend was a great success, from all reports. It started out for Sandman on Friday, with the Hoolios on the main stage, opening for Ghost Rider, who brought their southern kick-ass stuff up north under less-than-perfect circumstances: one of their guitar players passed away about three weeks ago. Kudos... they really rocked. The Hools were in top form, the sound was great, the crowd warm and happy(and hot & sticky). Those Florida boys must've brought some humidity with them, too.
Saturday afternoon Sman & Mike did a well-received set at the Hygienic Art Park - a great little outdoor venue in the heart of Bank St. Loyal fan Candy Tousignant was on hand and took some cool shots (see the Photo page). A few quick words with friends old & new, then on to the Rivergods' set, mainstage. Big thanks to Sherry & Jim at the Hygienic, and a special thanks to Kate Poole, who piloted a golf cart with Sman, Mike and all their gear from point A to point B - no straight lines at sailfest. Where were all the cameras for that adventure? After a few soundcheck snafus, the R'gods launched into a solid, cool set under the blazing sun, with some old favorites and a handful of brand new songs. It all seemed to go by in a flash, big fun had by all, more new pics (see Photo page, also and apparently it sounded good! Fans are hungry for more R'gods gigs.
All in all, it was a fantastic weekend - the Sailfest staff did a spendid, professional job, once again. Looking forward to next year.
Tuesday found the Hoolios at McCook's Beach in Niantic, playing a solid hour-long set, warming the place up for a swampy, gritty, very cool band from Atlanta called Delta Moon. A wonderful summer evening, great folks, great music. Life is good. Let's keep doin' it.

summer fun - July 11, 2007

Here we are in a brief calm between "The Fourth" and Sailfest (more fireworks!!!). Sandman enjoyed a pleasant surprize - sitting in on pedal steel with Preston Frantz and his band Hellbent & Heartbreakin' on the 4th, at a private party in Lyme. Beautiful place, big fun...Thanks to Preston for the vote of confidence (Sman played with no rehearsal). Hopefully, the opportunity will come again. The season opener at the Jonathan Edwards gallery (7/5) was a great night. The good folks who put this festival series together do it up right. The Hoolios were in top form (or was it the wine?), and the rain held off until the last note rang out... then it poured. The next night, the Hools were at it again at Sneekers in Groton, all warmed up and relaxed, playing on the "home field". Sunday (7/8) brought the benefit at the Shorebreak, where Sandman (accompanied by Mike P., exhibiting his usual, much appreciated vocal support & stellar bass work) opened the show to a small, supportive crowd. Things picked up as the evening progressed but, alas, Sman & Mike had to leave - Mike had to get home to mow the lawn for his dad. What a guy! So, now things are heating up for the big Sailfest weekend. The Hoolios play Friday night on the main stage, opening for the BIG act (sorry, I've forgotten their name, but the Hools are happy to be warming things up for them). Saturday afternoon Sman & Mike will do a set at the Hygienic Art Park at around 2 pm, then they'll shuttle themselves down the block to the main stage to take their places with the Rivergods for a 4 pm set, followed by Paul Brockett's band, then the Reducers... all leading up to... FIREWORKS!!! This all happens in beautiful, festive downtown New London, Ct. It's a blast. Hope to see y'all there.

Patty Darcy-Jones R.I.P. - June 28, 2007

Sandman got a call from old friend Brendan the other day. Patty (Brendan's ex) had died suddenly. Back in the '70s, Patty brightened the Free Beer recording sessions with her spunk and pulchritude - not to mention that incredible voice! She enjoyed a successful career, including 13 years as a backup singer for Cher, and 5 years starring in "Smokey Joe's Cafe" on B'way. She'd recently "retired", gone back to cutting hair (she was great at that, too) and living a quiet life in rural NJ with her husband and dogs. She'll be missed. We miss her already.

Summer! - June 21, 2007

Yes, it really happened. Summer arrived today, 2:08 pm EDT. Last week, the Hoolios played on "The Block" in a didn't rain. A grand time was had by all, a pleasant break from the workaday mainland - there's something about an island. Now that summer's officially here, we're all looking forward to our upcoming gigs - check the calendar.

Sandman played the Brooklyn Coffee & Tea House on Friday (I know, you meant to be there). Mike P. was available and joined Sman with his usual expert bass & vocals (Thanks Mikey). Extra-long set 'cause Jake Haller was a no-show. The other act turned out to be Angela Easterling, a sweet (and kinda saucy) southern girl with some great songs. What a treat. The Brooklyn will be closed for a bit while Tony's on vacation - Sman hopes to be back there again soon. Stay tuned.

David Brown Benefit - May 10, 2007

Into each life... as the saying goes. Good friend David Brown suffered the loss of many of his paintings in a fire happened just a week after the dedication of a stupa on his Old Saybrook property. The dedication was attended by hundreds, who enjoyed a wonderful day in the glow of David's hospitality. Sandman is one of a few musicians who will perform at a benefit May 19th. Hope you'll come to help out.

Making the rounds/myspace - May 4, 2007

Sandman has been hitting the open-mics over the last couple of weeks... a refreshingly warm reception at the Empire Coffee & Tea House in Newport - a young crowd of enthusiastic poets & musicians, well worth the trip. After a bit of trouble finding the place, a set at the Shorebreak in Narragansett, hosted by the lovely & talented Josie Crosby - a wide variety of music, from traditional to whatever the opposite of that is. Wrong exit, a tour of the backstreets of Providence, and a pleasant full-moon night at the Brooklyn Coffee & Tea House. Nice folks & new friends at each venue. Check out new links.
Sandman has a myspace site... just branching out in the realm of the web. This seems to be a big thing, with millions & millions of viewers - if you send a request, you can be Sman's friend (he can use all the friends he can get). That's it for now. Happy spring, at long last !!!

No Brewed Awakenings - April 24, 2007

Hey fans - for some unknown reason, the folks at Brewed Awakenings (Wakefield & Johnston, RI) have decided they don't want live music anymore. O, well...their loss. If you were planning to go there for a dose of live entertainment, change your plans, unless you find eavesdropping on inane conversation and watching people web-surf entertaining. The RISA organizers are hot on the trail of another venue. Sandman hopes you get this message in time (He was scheduled to play in Wakefield 4/28). Stay tuned...

Anthology on emusic/itunes - April 9, 2007

The "Anthology" album, put together by Alan Lorber, features the old tunes from Sman's days with Papa Nebo & Free Beer plus a few that even Sman hadn't heard in years - never released stuff !
Now Available on itunes and emusic !!!

New Pics!!! - April 5, 2007

Loyal R'god fan (and newest Sman fan) Candy Tousignant snapped us at the 10th anniversary show. Check out the Photo page!
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