April 2024 VOCAL Songwriters Showcase

Tonight's VOCAL showcase was what one might call a folk festival featuring two acts of great classic folk music. Doug Patrick is a long time VOCAL member and he started off the night with a five pack of his seasoned songs. "Good Time Train" followed the longings of a down and out family with each member longing to catch a ride out of dire circumstances on the song's title. "Put Him In The Lineup" was a cry to give a much unheralded baseball player a chance to get in the game. pleading to the team manager that the guy could "hit the tater a country mile". Commenting on the wasteful conditions the world is in, "Leave It Like You Found It" was a song asking the listeners to treat the planet with respect and give recyling a chance. Doug's tender side came out next in his "Ill Hold You As Long As I Can" telling a distant lover while out on your journeys, keep me in your heart. Closing this segment of the showcase, Doug was accompanied by Gary Shaver on clarinet with a nod to "New Orleans Nights" with a tribute to the great music one can find down Bourbon Street in places like Preservation Hall.
Next up: The duo of Gene and Gayla Mills began their set with " Anna Mae" painting us a picture of a venerable lady, followed by "Eight Lanes Headed West" a musical map of how to get the heck out of Florida with all it's vulnerability to hurricanes and other disasters. "Fools Gold" is a stand in for love unrequited with is better left alone just like a worthless stone. Talking To A Stone" exhorts the listener to talk to those you love and respect before they are out of your life because a stone cannot respond emotionally. The last song in their set was the story of the "Fiddle In The Wall" which tells about how a fiddle was discovered buried inside a wall of a cabin being torn down and how it got to be there. The reason suggested that the hider's motive had to do with a religious belief that "When my Savior calls, gotta put his ( the devil's?) fiddle in the wall."
The third segment of tonight's showcase was a collaboration between Doug and the Mills, trading off songs through their set.
"Bad Luck" by the MIlls was a description of how being down can affect one's life causing them to suffer such things as bad booze and rotten meat. After all. "Bad Luck" by any other name is just a numbers game. Next, from Doug, his story song about lessons learned while growing up and being "At My Grandfather's Knee" was the safest place to be.
"Around the Lake" was an instrumental picked by Gene Mills. "Where The Wild Wind Blows" was a sad tale of lonliness by Doug. This was followed by Gaya Mills who took her turn at the mike with "Twelve Days" of an exasperated person trying to find work and not having much luck, finally declaring "I'll take any job at all." Going back to his East Kentucky roots, Doug regaled us with "Getaway" and living life back in those younger days. Finally: another going back to your roots song from Gene "Forks Of Buffalo" told us about his life away from that tiny Virginia town and how after living 40 years away in places as diverse and California and Maine, it was a pleasure to once more see that old home town again.

A very appreciative audience gave the performers a rousing round of applause for a great night of music and camaroderie.


Showcase Photos

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Photo Credits: Matthew Costello and John Ellis