Andrea Beaton and Owen Marshall
at the Skye Theatre

Event Summary

2010 November 10 (Wednesday)
The Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center, 2 Highland Drive, South Carthage, Maine
Andrea Beaton and Owen Marshall
$10.00. Reserve via e-mail to Phill McIntyre at
or via phone at +1 (207) 562-4445
Alternate Dates
2010 November 9 (Tuesday) at 430 Bayside in Ellsworth (Maine); tickets $15.00
2010 November 11 (Thursday) at the Unity Center in Unity (Maine); tickets $10
Contact Phill MacIntyre for details of these alternate events.

Review for the Cape Breton Music List
(Posted 2010 November 12)

The dedicated core of jam session players that provide pre-concert music at most Skye Theatre concerts was considerably augmented this evening by quite a number of other musicians, effectively forming a string orchestra whose playing was most welcome; Andrea Beaton and Owen Marshall, this evening’s entertainers, joined the group for some of its numbers.

Andrea Beaton certainly needs no introduction to this list; Owen Marshall, however, is likely to be a new name to most here — he certainly was to me. I’m told that he’s originally from Vermont, but now lives in the Portland area, where, with two other New Englanders, he is a member of the Maine-based band The Press Gang. Owen has developed a reputation as a fine traditional-music accompanist and first played with Andrea, if I understood correctly, earlier this year in June when she needed an accompanist in Maine on short notice. They obviously hit it off and make a fine combo, as Wednesday’s concert at the Skye Theatre certainly demonstrated.

Andrea began the concert with a fine jig set, with Owen accompanying on guitar. She followed it with two clogs she learnt from Troy MacGillivray and then some reels. Next, Andrea played Allison and Craig’s Big Day, a waltz she wrote for her sister’s wedding that appears on Andrea’s latest CD, Branches. Then, she gave us two slip jigs she likewise wrote, The Dearborn Slip (also on Branches), and The Water Boiling Machine; Owen switched to bouzouki for this set. The fifth set began with Dougie MacDonald’s march Marble Hill and continued with a blast of Beaton family tunes, with compositions by Donald Angus, Kinnon, Andrea, and Glenn Graham; Andrea’s delightful percussive foot, always an important part of her music (and a distinguishing characteristic of Cape Breton music in general), was especially noticeable in this set. Returning to guitar, Owen then played solo a waltz he had written (whose title I unfortunately didn’t get), accompanying himself on a field harmonium, apparently a very small Army version used for religious services in the field of the much larger “pump organ”, adding a sound that once was familiar in Cape Breton music before the piano was common there (see track 8 of David Greenberg’s Tunes Until Dawn for a good example of this intriguing sound in a Cape Breton context); Andrea then came in with a fiddle tune to finish the set. Continuing on guitar and harmonium, Owen accompanied Andrea as she ended the first half of the concert with a blast of tunes that included Radio Edit, a tune she had written for Troy (and which Troy also played at last week’s concert at the Skye Theatre). How quickly the hour had passed!

Andrea began the second half as she did the first, with a great jig set, with Owen accompanying on bouzouki this time. With Owen switching to guitar, Andrea next gave us a superb set of strathspeys, starting with John Morris Rankin’s Betty Lou’s Strathspey, written for Andrea’s mother. She then played The Battle of Glencoe, a waltz for which Theresa MacLellan is well known (and which, according to Alan Snyder’s excellent Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings site, “was adapted from the song [The Ballad of Glencoe, also known as The House of MacDonald] by Jim McLean, which itself was adapted from a 6/8 march by L. Beaton named Colonel Robertson”); Owen’s guitar accompaniment was especially fine in this selection, bringing to mind Cape Breton’s best guitar accompanists, such as Patrick Gillis and Sandy “Fish” MacDonald. Andrea then launched into another set of strathspeys (and Owen’s guitar accompaniment was equally superb here too), at the end of which she step-danced while Owen continued the strathspeys on solo guitar. To give the now breathless Andrea a break, Owen did his version of Crazy Blues, a blues song which he learnt from a Leon Redbone recording, accompanying himself on guitar; it seemed to me as much out of place in a concert of Cape Breton music as Molly O’Brien’s performance was at this year’s otherwise super Celtic Colours concert in Whycocomagh and, like it, was not at all to my taste, though, like it, went over very well with the rest of the audience. Andrea, now recovered, played another fine jig set, this one starting with Kinnon’s Big Mike’s Jig. To finish off the second half, Andrea gave us another long blast of tunes with again very fine guitar accompaniment from Owen. A standing ovation ensued and the audience’s rhythmic clapping brought the musicians back to the stage, where they gave us several more reels, with Owen accompanying on bouzouki. The one out-of-place selection aside, this was a stunning evening of music.


Pre-concert jam session

Pre-concert jam session

Pre-concert jam session

Pre-concert jam session

Pre-concert jam session

Phill McIntyre opens the concert

Andrea Beaton on fiddle accompanied by Owen Marshall on guitar

Andrea Beaton on fiddle

Andrea Beaton on fiddle accompanied by Owen Marshall on guitar

Andrea Beaton on fiddle accompanied by Owen Marshall on bouzouki

Owen Marshall on guitar

Owen Marshall’s field harmonium

Owen Marshall’s field harmonium

Andrea Beaton on fiddle accompanied by Owen Marshall on bouzouki

Andrea Beaton step-dancing

Owen Marshall on guitar

Owen Marshall singing Crazy Blues to his own guitar accompaniment