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LeEllen Dylaan | Fun Facts

For you! The first letter of each "Fun Fact" is linked to a song from LeEllen’s “jukebox.” If you were to eavesdrop on one of her parties, these songs are what you might hear playing. Check back in to see what’s playing at the NEXT PARTY.


1. During the filming of Liberty, LeEllen was suddenly surrounded by three powerboats full of FBI agents. The camera person was losing light fast, so without missing a beat, LeEllen kept on singing, while the agents were unavoidably caught on camera. But to LeEllen’s surprise the FBI agents turned out to be a considerate audience, who tried their best not to interrupt the filming as they unloaded their passengers.


2. Songwriting comes so easily to LeEllen that when she first began playing out at coffee shops and theatres she’d written so many songs that she never needed to do covers - the only three cover songs she ever learned on the guitar were Me and Bobby McGee, House of the Rising Sun and Summertime.


3. One of the first times LeEllen sang out at a coffee shop, Terry Adams, of NRBQ, who was doing a show at Ram’s Head Onstage, happened to come into the coffee shop where she was playing and sat at the foot of the stage and listened to her. The next year, when he came back into town, he visited the same coffee shop looking for her to see if she’d like to open for him that night.


4. LeEllen’s agent sent her song Aragorn’s Poem -- a song she'd written to the J.R.R. Tolkien poem, All That is Gold Does Not Glitter –- to Peter Jackson in New Zealand, for consideration for the soundtrack of one of the Tolkien movies. Jackson’s assistant liked the song so much she express-mailed the demo out to where Jackson was filming on location. Within a few weeks she called back, encouraging LeEllen’s agent to send it onto Howard Shore, with the glowing remarks that LeEllen’s voice was so beautiful. Howard Shore, however, had already begun the recording part of the score by the time the demo reached him.


5. LeEllen has a guitar pick from a Guess Who concert tucked into her guitar case -- she got it when the lead singer called her out from the audience for her great dancing and in a friendly gesture threw her the memento.


6. When Nancy Wilson, of Heart, was in DC for an exhibit of concert footage photos, LeEllen met her at a small soiree at the Govinda Gallery and invited her to have a showing of her own original artwork. The exhibit would have featured both Nancy Wilson's and Joni Mitchell’s artwork, but alas, the gallery was closed before the exhibit could take place. 


7. Not long after LeEllen watched Alice’s Restaurant for the first time, she got the chance to meet Arlo Guthrie backstage at a Kennedy Center Festival in Washington, DC -- she was delighted that he was just as warm and ingenuous as he was in Alice’s Restaurant. LeEllen still giggles over the anecdote Arlo told at his concert as to why Bob Dylan had so many songs to his credit: they were the songs Arlo let float by him while he was watching tv and when the songs drifted down to Dylan, Dylan quickly grabbed them up.


8. When people ask LeEllen if she’s related to Dylan, she answers with a smile, “You mean Uncle Bob?”

9. LeEllen was introduced to Eva Cassidy’s parents by the artist Moe Hanson at the opening of Moe’s exhibit, “The Seven Virtues,” not long after Eva had passed away. That night LeEllen was also introduced to Eva’s CD, Songbird, which hauntingly played over the speakers in memory of her.  


10. In Dublin one Christmas, LeEllen spent a lovely evening at Moya Brennan's home having good, strong Irish tea and talking about such things as art, music, flowers, Moya's dad’s pub (Leo’s Tavern) and Christmas decorations. LeEllen was also thrilled for the privilege of being invited into Moya's studio to listen to some songs she'd just finished working on for an upcoming album. It was a night to remember.


11. On a sunny June afternoon, Melanie and Peter Schekeryk came over to LeEllen's for coffee and dessert after LeEllen had watched Melanie in concert; they then spent the rest of the weekend seeing the town together and talking late into the night. Only a year before, at a sidewalk sale in Blacksburg, LeEllen had discovered Melanie's music for the first time when she stumbled across an album of Melanie's featuring her number one hit, Brand New Key.


12. Born too late to get to go see Richie Havens at Woodstock, LeEllen jumped at the chance to see Richie Havens at an in-house concert at Music Millennium. It was a small, intimate gathering, but the power of Richie's performance was big enough to reach a stadium full of people. It seems it was never in Richie Haven's style to hold back.


13. One Christmas, LeEllen was given tickets to see BB King and Bobby "Blue" Bland, at the Warner Theatre. It was LeEllen’s first introduction to the “Sinatra of Blues,” who gave it his all (and then some) as the audience sat in their seats enjoying themselves. Several months later, LeEllen ran into Ed Komara, who was directing the Blues Archive at the University of Mississippi. Ed said that when he first saw Bobby “Blue” Bland, it was no cucumber sandwich and tea concert. It was a late night show, at an outdoor pavilion in Mississippi, and Bobby Bland had aroused his audience to such a fever pitch that they were fervently fanning themselves -- and not from the Delta heat.


14. LeEllen won tickets on the radio to see Ginger Rogers for one of her very last public appearances at a screening of Kitty Foyle, at the Senator Theatre in Baltimore. LeEllen had never imagined she'd see Ms. Rogers in person, so to get to listen to firsthand stories was a real treat. Ms. Rogers even shared why she was sitting in a wheelchair nursing an injured hip at the screening: she'd just slipped on the stairs of Ronald Reagan's yacht during a party.


15. During January term, in college, as part of a psychology class, LeEllen went to the set and offices of Sesame Street in New York. One of the assignments for the Sesame Street workshop was to write a skit. After LeEllen read her skit aloud, she was tickled to hear the senior writer of the show say that her skit was “very sweet.”


16. LeEllen auditioned for the Barnum and Bailey Circus as a dancer. She made the cuts, but the idea of traveling around the country in a circus train made her think twice about joining up. But she's still a big fan of PT Barnum's life story. More!

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