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Catherine MacLellan and Tanya Davis

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Catherine MacLellan

Catherine MacLellan

Trailside Café and Inn was light up by beautiful melodies and flickering candles on August 24th. I had the pleasure of being in attendance for Catherine MacLellan and Tanya Davies second sold out show at the Trailside. The two lovely ladies, who are life long friends, light up the night with their touching stories and tributes to the artists and life experiences that have inspired them. Both well known and respected artists have set the bar high for their live shows and after watching them in this intimate setting, I can understand why. Their songs were raw, touching and relatable and their voices were near perfection. The Trailside Café was filled with excitement for what the evening was going to bring. Trailside Café is set in beautiful Mount Stewart and owners Pat and Meaghan Deighan have done wonders for this unique venue. With almost all shows of the summer being sold out, they are gearing up for a busy Fall season. The food and atmosphere is exceptional and I highly recommend checking out this one of a kind venue.


The night started off with Island native Tanya Davies. Tanya is currently residing in Halifax and is well known for not only her music but her writing as well. Tanya started the evening off with a poem about love and defending how awesome love is. This was a different spin on the evening, setting a relaxing tone for the rest of the night. Tanya kicked off the musical portion of the evening with a song entitled “Gorgeous Morning”. I loved this song and could relate to her feelings throughout the song. It was about quitting a job that she was really did not enjoy. She explained that it is a privileged position to be able to quit a job and follow her dreams. Tanya continued on with another insightful and heartfelt song called “Don’t Bury Me”. The situation surrounding this song was a conversation she had with her mother about her preferred burial. In Tanya’s songs, death is a theme and can be found throughout a lot of her songs. She takes a situation that many can find to be an uncomfortable topic of conversation and make it into a beautiful song, which is what I believe, makes her such a talented artist. She has the ability to take real life, tough situations and make them into relatable and enjoyable songs. My favourite song of the evening was titled “Mourn Your Losses”, which is another reference to death. The story behind this song was Tanya and Catherine had a “song writing challenge”. The theme of the song writing challenge was the idea of having a cemetery to go and mourn the people we have loved and lost, a place where we go to mourn failed relationships.  Tanya is an exceptional song writer and entertainer. She put the crowd at ease from the moment she walked on stage. You could feel the love that Tanya and Catherine had for each other through the evening and it was seen through their songs and pure admiration they had for each other.


Next up was Catherine MacLellan, who is an Island gem. If you are from PEI, you are well aware of who Catherine is. She is one of the most well known and respected artists from PEI. She sings like a dream and her song writing is boarding on magical. It was not the first time I had the pleasure of watching Catherine live, so I knew what to expect and I was not disappointed. Catherine was sharing the stage with Chris Gauthier, who is also a well known guitar player here on PEI.  Catherine did not only some of her own songs but she also did a few cover songs as well. She did an amazing job of Ron Hyne’s song “1962” and she also covered a Chaz Guy song as well. The aspect of the show that I enjoyed so much was how present she was during her set. You could feel how much she loved singing and sharing her stories. As soon as Catherine opened her mouth to the moment her set was over, the audience was captivated. She is a true performer and the legacy of Catherine’s father, Gene MacLellen lives on through Catherine’s beautiful songs. Trying to pin point a favourite song of Catherine’s of the night posed to be quite difficult, as they were all extraordinary. “Isabels’ Song” was a touching tribute to Catherine’s six year old daughter. As a mother, this song was relatable and you could feel the love that Catherine has for her daughter throughout the song.  An interesting song that Catherine sang was called “Old Tin Can”. David Baxter was the inspiration for this song. When David was emerging as an artist he was labelled as “Canada’s Oldest Newcomer”. This song was written by Catherine and about David.  Catherine finished up the evening with two of her father’s biggest hits “Put Your Hand in the Hand” and “Snowbird”. During these two songs you could hear a pin drop at the Trailside. The audience was mesmerized by Catherine’s beautiful voice and cover of her father’s iconic songs.



Catherine and Tayna are both incredible performers who have been playing music for years, with many more years ahead of them. Their talent and character make them a treat to watch and every time I have had the pleasure of watching them, I was not disappointed. Next time one or both of these ladies are in your area, go out and watch their magic. Next time you are in Mount Stewart, PEI stop into Trailside Café and Inn, I promise you will not be disappointed with this unique venue, which has loads of talent walk through their doors. If you have an event you would like me to attend this Fall Season, please email me at, I would be happy to attend!

By : Angie Toombs

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