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Amanda Jackson band honoured and thrilled to open for Canadian songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie

Members of the Amanda Jackson Band are excited about performing selections from their new CD, “Fire in the Blue”, as the opening act for Buffy Sainte-Marie at the Souris Show Hall on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. From left are Todd MacLean, Reggie Ballagh, Amanda Jackson, Dale McKie and Jon Rehder. SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN
Members of the Amanda Jackson Band are excited about performing selections from their new CD, “Fire in the Blue”, as the opening act for Buffy Sainte-Marie at the Souris Show Hall on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. From left are Todd MacLean, Reggie Ballagh, Amanda Jackson, Dale McKie and Jon Rehder. SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Great things are happening for the Amanda Jackson Band.

And to see it, all one has to do is review the group’s accomplishments over the past year.

Band members played a sold-out show at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico.

They played gigs at the Blues Matinee at the Factory Cookhouse and Dance Hall in Charlottetown as well as other P.E.I. venues. They also accepted an invitation to play the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton.

In addition, the band has done some solid songwriting. And after testing out their new tunes with audiences, the band members stepped into the recording studio earlier this year and released a second album, “Fire in the Blue”, last weekend at the Trailside Café in Mount Stewart.

“I feel that this year is a culmination of all the hard work we’ve done up to this point. And now that the album is complete, it feels a little bit like play,” says Jackson, lead singer for the group that includes Todd MacLean, keyboards, alto sax and guitar, Dale McKie, guitar and harmonica, Jon Rehder, bass, and Reggie Ballagh, drums.

The band’s new single, “Dance Into the Light” is being released today on iTunes, CD Baby, Bandcamp and other online distributors.

“We’re always excited for an opportunity to showcase our original tunes and to see them get some radio play,” says McKie.

And if that isn’t reason enough to celebrate, the band has accepted an invitation to open for singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie at the Souris Show Hall on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. It’s one of two concerts that the Cree singer-songwriter is giving on P.E.I. The other is Nov. 1 at the Harbourfront Theatre at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s an absolute honour and a thrill for us,” says MacLean. “I like how she speaks, not only for humanity, but for the planet and First Nation rights. I also like the way she puts (these things) into songs so eloquently and powerfully.”

Not only is this concert an opportunity to meet and connect with a “great Canadian icon” it’s a chance to create connections and continue to grow their audience.

“The recognition that we’re starting to feel is just wonderful,” says McKie, of the band that began two years ago when he and Jackson “felt the need to get together and write songs.”

MacLean came aboard three months later, followed by Ballagh and Deryl Gallant, who was replaced by Rehder when he was offered a job as an orchestra member in the Charlottetown Festival’s production of “Evangeline”.

He believes that the secret to the band’s success is its strong work ethic and the camaraderie and connections between members whenever they get together.

“We’ve become more than a band. We’re a family.”

As for the future of the family, MacLean is positive.

“We plan to promote the album as much as possible and perform off-Island. Because we received such a great reception at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival and the Hantsport Homecoming Festival, we want to tour it around a bit more.”

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