5 stars!!! Windblown, dusty dreams elegantly captured by that familiar (can't quite place it) voice. Music that will touch your Western soul.” - unknown...thanks, whoever you are.

— Austin Chronicle/cdbaby.com

The Sandman - not the one who "enters" for Metallica - is a guitarist/mandolin player in such local outfits as the Rivergods and the Hoolios. He has an extensive musical history dating back to major label deals with the band Free Beer during the Nixon Administration. I actually bought (long since gone) a Free Beer album whilst in the penitentiary at Baylor University, and I want to say the cover was an image of a movie theater with Free Beer across the marquee. (Does this sound right, Sandman? Please advise.) The extremely polished tunes on this excellent CD are reminiscent of the glory days of Pure Prairie League or the New Riders of the Purple Sage - effortlessly pleasant country-rock. Sandman is a terrific player, and his voice is a charming throwback to the late, great B.W. Stevenson. The title cut, "Murphy's Law", and "If I Ever Need You" are standout tracks. Beautifully recorded and produced by Brendan Harkin in Brentwood, Tn., it's solid throughout.” - Rick Koster

New London Day

Rick wrote a nice blurb about the Blue Collar Happy Hour... please visit The Day's website and go to Thurs. 1/17/08. Click on "music" and you'll find it.” - Rick Koster

The Day

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/1/08 NEWS CONTACT: Susan Hurley (401)596-8126 Residence, (860) 536-0565, ext. 167 business shurley03@cox.net AREA BANDS GATHER TO SEND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS TO OVERSEAS TROOPS (Pawcatuck, CT) “Instruments of Hope”, a musical fundraiser to solicit donations of musical instruments to be sent to overseas troops will take place on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at the Pawcatuck VFW on Rt. 1 in Pawcatuck CT, from 3:00-8:00 PM. The Cartells, Greg Piccolo and Heavy Juice, Johnny & The East Coast Rockers, Sandman Allen and Friends, and Sour Grapes will donate their time and talent to benefit the efforts of Operation Happy Note—a volunteer organization that sends musical instruments to our deployed service men and women throughout the world. As owners of a mom-and-pop music store in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Steve and Barb Baker sent their son a guitar for his birthday while he was deployed in Iraq in 2005. A week or so later, they got a phone call from their son telling them he was thrilled with the instrument, as was a buddy of his…and could they send another guitar? Thus, Operation Happy Note was born. Three years and hundreds of instruments later, this effort has become a full-time occupation for Barb Baker as the requests keep coming in. To date, they have over 1,000 troops on the waiting list for instruments. To help accommodate these requests, the Westerly, RI organizers of this benefit are asking attendees of this event to bring a musical instrument and/or a $15.00 donation. To make the musical donations more personal, the organizers suggest including a note about the instrument or musician it belonged to, along with the item. According to the OHN Website www.operationhappynote.com, instruments currently in demand are saxophones, trumpets, trombones and keyboards, although any instrument is a welcome gift. In exchange for musical or monetary donations, attendees will be treated to a full slate of high energy, danceable, live music. In a fortunate turn of events, Barb Baker is flying out to attend the fundraiser along with her daughter Angela, who just happens to live in West Haven, CT. Barb had been missing her daughter and when news of the benefit came to her attention, she decided to time a trip out East to coincide with the event. Barb is excited to be on hand that day to greet supporters, answer questions and help pack up the donations. She asks that instruments fit in a box with dimensions no larger than 108" total length and circumference. The Mystic Soup Company, of Mystic CT, will be offering hot soup and grilled sandwiches to hungry music fans—and all proceeds from food sales will be donated to the effort. The event kicks off at 3:00PM, with Sour Grapes, an acoustic duo that serves up infectious beats and a positive attitude. Their eclectic sound, which they describe as “Melting Pot Music,” is, at once, both 100% American and multicultural, and reflects influences which cross world, folk, pop, and jazz genres. Sour Grapes combine acoustic guitar, harmonica, dual vocals, congas, and tap shoes (yes, tap shoes!). Up at 4PM is Sandy “Sandman” Allen and friends. Sandman’s songs are raunchy, bittersweet, countrified, and jazzy, sprinkled with humor and irony. Apparent are the varied influences of the Band, Van Morrison, Dylan, the Beatles, CSNY, the Byrds, the Eagles, Paul Siebel, and Merle Haggard, to name a few. The 5-6 PM slot goes to Greg Piccolo and Heavy Juice. Piccolo's credentials include 25 years with the Grammy-nominated, world renowned, Roomful of Blues, where he served as bandleader, lead singer, and tenor sax man from 1978 until his departure in 1994. His impressive catalog of more than fifty recordings includes sessions with Pat Benetar, Colin James, "Big" Joe Turner, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to mention a few. At 6PM, Connecticut’s favorite dance band, The Cartells, will take the stage. A band transcending the boundaries of style and able to adapt to virtually any performance situation, The Cartells have built a reputation for being the band of choice for concerts, nightclubs, & private functions of all kinds, and are one of the most popular wedding bands in Connecticut. Johnny & The East Coast Rockers will round out the evening at 7PM. A premiere Rhythm and Blues dance band in the Northeast for over 26 years, Johnny MacLeod and his band perform original tunes and favorite covers from the 40's, 50's, and 60's in an eclectic mix, that combines elements of traditional blues, swing, jazz, R&B, and roots rock. Geoff Cook, weekend radio personality of WJZS 99.3 “The Bridge” in Rhode Island will MC the event. This is an all ages show, but for those with a thirst for spirits stronger than soda, positive ID needs to be shown at the door. Sponsors for packaging, postage, advertising, and printing are needed. All donations are tax deductible. For more information or to volunteer, please call Susan Hurley at (401) 596-8126. The Pawcatuck VFW is located at 160 South Broad St. Pawcatuck CT 06379 # # # http://sourgrapesmusic.com/ http://sandmanmusic.net/ http://www.thecartells.com/ www.gregpiccolo.com http://www.ecrockers.com/” - Susan Hurley

— Instruments of Hope Press Release