Chance with Randy Sabien

Chance with Randy Sabien


What if Stephane Grappelli, Yo Yo Ma, and Bonnie Raitt had a band?


Vocalist Cheryl Leah has recorded with jazz greats Herbie Hancock and Miroslav Vitous for Warner Brothers.

Cellist Ed Willett toured for Columbia Artists and completed his training at one of the world's leading conservatories, the University of Southern California.

Violinist Randy Sabien founded and was the head of the Jazz String Department at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music.

This trio of innovators met and began performing together as house band members for one of the nation's premiere music festivals, the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua. The sound that they've created draws from their original compositions and their diverse backgrounds in Jazz, Blues, and Classical music. They step effortlessly between Leah's lush emotion drenched ballads and rockin' blues, to searing jazz swing instrumentals a la Stephane Grappelli.

Recent credits both individually and as a group for Cheryl, Ed, and Randy include:

Sabien's frequent guest appearances on "A Prairie Home Companion" and "Austin City Limits".
Chance's opening for the Rock icons "Little Feat", Willie Nelson, and the Smothers Brothers.

In January of 2009 Ed performed with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Graham Nash, the Crickets, Bobby Vee, Pat DiNizio, Hutch Hutchinson, Kenny Aronoff, Chuck Leavell and Bobby Keys in a tribute concert at the historic Surf Ballroom on the 50th anniversery of Buddy Holly's tragic death.


To The Music

Written By: Chance - Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah

I know why the angels sing
when my heart fills with music
I can feel the grasses growing, and there are no fading flowers...
when my heart fills with music
Just when I'm crying
Just when I'm dying

I know there's a place for me
when my heart fills with music
Send my love to all I see
when my heart fills with music
Wrap its loving arms around me
and there are no fading hours ever precious...
when my heart fills with music
Just when I'm crying
Just when I'm dying
Just when I'm dying...

c 1997 - Poor Farm Road Publishing

Long Grass and Ladybugs

Written By: Chance/Cheryl Leah and Ed Willett

In the Spring air, we'll invite you back
There'll be roses in your petal, and a flower in your glass
Beyond the summer that I know, where do ladybugs go?

While you wintered, mosses slept
Then the sun arose, and the promise was kept
In the strands of the jubilee,
ladybugs at tea
Long grass and ladybugs, you may summon me....

Where's your lighted hall?
Ladies all....

Stamen chandeliers lighting the eye,
Ladies understand the Spring
Butterfly rides, bee pollen pies
Ride on a butterfly wing

When the dandelion flies, I know it's time
When the moss has grown by the big round stone,
Big stone, big round stone

In the strands of the jubilee,
Ladybugs at tea
Long grass and ladybugs,
You may summon me.....

Where's your lighted hall?
Ladies all, ladies all

c 1997 - Poor Farm Road Publishing

The Beauty of Age

Written By: Ed Willett

The sky's a cool gray
Frost covers the ground
The fortunes of Springtime lie still all around
Anna sits softly waiting for a friend to appear
as she has for so many years...

But my feet whisk me past her,
They won't let me stay
Just time for a smile, and I'm on my way
Then one day I stopped running to rest for a while
and listened to the beauty of age.

She said "far away, the soft skin and curls - farther the homeland, its gardens unfurled, and mama and papa, a misty blue haze long ago"...


And she sang from her heart and the depth of the sea
Her china blues looking right through me
and it could have been your life, it could have been mine,
The difference only passage of time.

Seen 85 years, come and be gone,
All of them precious, tattered and worn
So talk with me, laugh with me,
Sing with the beauty of age.

Her eyes danced like she danced back in '17
Calling cards, soft hearts, a girl and her dreams,
and swirling white dresses so tastefully laid 'round her chair -

She spoke of her true love,
and the girl disappeared
A woman remembered with warm grateful tears
and then she was with him,
lost in her loving man's arms...

Like a thief in the night, age comes stealing
Asking who are you? What do you believe in?
Is the dawn still your friend?
Would you do it all over again?

c 1997
Poor Farm Road Publishing

Poor Farm Road

Written By: Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah

We tend to believe
without a thimble of proof
We're always patchin' up ourselves and this old tin roof
And raisin' up our dreams from a kernel of truth
Here on Poor Farm Road

World, World, go away
please come back another day, we're hiding on Davids farm -
It's not that we don't care for you, it's just that all we want to do
is hide out on Davids farm!

And we know the end is coming -
We can hear the whistle blast, Watch the bone cars haul our future straight into the past -
But still we keep on searchin'
for the beauty that lasts.
Never gonna' let that go...

And on this road,
there's music in the night,
and there's laughter on the wind almost all of the time,
and the love is so thick
you can cut it with a knife,
and never know that you've grown old, on Poor Farm Road...

Time won't you have a seat,
I've only just sat down to eat
The sweet of your precious hours -
I didn't realize how few there were, could not decide if I deserved,
the sweet of your precious hours...

Drinking the silence,
Laughing it away,
Listening for Spring to appear
Sing to the stillness
No business today!
Singing when there's
no one to hear...

We tend to believe
without a thimble of proof,
We're always patchin' up ourselves and this old time roof,
and raisin' up our dreams
from a kernel of truth,
Here on Poor Farm Road


She's the kind to pick the route for the scenery
The point A to B'rs,
She'll always drive 'em crazy
But I laid their compass down the day I saw her in that wedding gown
Now I'm the kind to pick the route for the scenery!


We tend to believe
without a thimble of proof

c 2009
Poor Farm Road Publishing



CD's-Toy Cows in Africa - 1993
So Much To Think About - 1998
Fields: A Cantata for the Peaceful Rain - 1999
Live at Patsy's Bar - 2003.

DVD's - Long Grass and Lady Bugs - An Illustrated Music Box - 2006

Network Television - Their original song "Toy Cows in Africa" on CBS's hit show "Northern Exposure" 1993.

PBS Specials-Minnesota Song of the North Star 2004, Centenial Green - 2006, 30th Star - 2005, Peter Buffet's Spirit Tour - 1998

Public Radio-They're regular features on the weekly public radio show "Tent Show Radio"

Randy Sabien:

CD's: In a Fog - 1991
Fiddlehead Blues - 1990
The Sound of Fish Dreaming - 1993
Paintin' the Canvas - 1995
Live at the Cafe Carp - 1996
Segue - 2002
Cap a Cup of Dreams - 2004
Rock This House - 2006.
Rhythm and Bows - 2008

Set List

A typical set includes about 60% to 70% originals. The rest are one of a kind covers. We do two 45 minute sets with an intermission. Our repertoire is a balance of lush vocals and dazzling string arrangements.

For example:

Mr. P.C. - John Coltrane (uptempo jazz instrumental)
No Mama - Chance - (uptempo Calypso)
My Little Diddlee-Dee - Chance - (uptempo Cajun)
J.D. and the Rhythm Section - Sabien - (uptempo swing jazz)
Minor Thing - Sabien and Michael Dowling - (uptempo swing jazz)
I Can't Make You Love Me - Clark - ballad
Bonaparte's Retreat - traditional Appalachian - newgrass instrumental
Walking Blues - Johnson - R & B high energy vocal tune

SECOND SET example:

Don't Mean a Thing - jazz standard - swing jazz
The Sound of Fish Dreaming - Sabien - Instrumental ballad
You are Paris - Chance - love ballad, duet
I Love the Muddy Water - Keb Mo - medium blues
Poor Farm Road - Chance - uptempo newgrass
Every Frog Has His Day - Chance - humorous vocal song