Roy MacCaull at his recording studio in Ellerslie (photo: Jan Cox)

Music for life

Roy MacCaull is still writing love songs

Way Up West | by Jan Cox

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I wish The Buzz was like one of those musical greeting cards. You could open this page and hear the strong voice and guitar pickings of Roy MacCaull.

Roy has been writing stories, playing music and singing since he was 14. He’s going to be 83 in March. He told me at his recording studio on his property in Ellerslie, “You know, my time is getting short. I love life so much. I just keep writing more love songs.”

Those songs have earned Roy many awards and accolades over the years including the Music PEI 2018 Entertainer of the Year. Much earlier than that, in recognition of his dedication and professionalism, the local TV show (shown on Cable 10 then), “Community Showcase,” presented Roy, on their 125th episode, a plaque which hangs in pride of place on the wall of his studio.

Roy wrote and recorded a song called “Shores of PEI” when living in Toronto. Paragon Record owner sent a copy of the song to Queen Elizabeth. He received a letter dated May 15, 1973 from Buckingham Palace thanking him for the music. It also read, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were looking forward to their upcoming trip to Canada.

There are many memories Roy loves to share. For six years, while working for Canada Post, Roy played in the popular country band The Blue Diamonds, cutting several full length albums. Their original record jackets also decorate the music studio walls. “One highlight of those days, was my playing in Weeling, West Virginia, before it was the Grand Ol’ Opry,” he told me, with a great big grin! “You know, I was raised on good old country music and I can’t get out of it.”

After 39 years, Roy retired. He and wife Brenda headed back to their beloved PEI. He started playing at local festivals and seniors homes, slowly getting back into what he loves—people and music.

Ten years ago, he built his own recording studio with the help of his late son, Kenneth Roy MacCaull. Kim Tuplin walked into that studio five years ago to record her own CD. It’s a relationship that has grown over the years and the duo now play and sing together. “I used to lay awake thinking, I would love to have someone who would listen to my ideas and sing my songs the way I would like,” he said. That someone is Kim. “Only for Kim I would be retired. No reason to continue, been there, done that.”

Kim says that Roy is back to writing songs, and “my voice just keeps getting better.” he tells me. The talented pair love playing for church functions, concerts, fundraisers. “They just keep calling us up.” But their love is playing in nursing homes. Roy said, “Music brings them life. If you haven’t got a loved one, you’ve got nothing. Old people have no songs to relate to anymore. Radios don’t play old songs.”

Roy is a story teller with music and it comes from the heart. “There is no other thing in the world than love, and that’s what I write about. The melody just comes,” he says.

Jan CoxWay Up West
Jan Cox

My partner and I moved to the island from Ottawa in August 2003. We quickly became avid fans of "The Buzz". I would search out the monthly read at the liquor stores of West Prince! I retired in June 2015 and found myself one afternoon, on a weekday no less, outside The Buzz office in Charlottetown. I met Peter and the gang and after singing the praises of the publication, suggested they needed a voice from West of Summerside. Me and my big mouth - three years later I am still writing "Way Up West" every month and it has been a joy. It's a win win - I get to work with a wonderful group of people at The Buzz and I am thrilled to be meeting folks from up west and area.