September 2023 VOCAL Songwriters Showcase

Continuing the tradition of live performances, tonight’s showcase at O’Toole’s  restaurant, featured two performers, Burke Ingraffia and Steve Fisher.   Burke is a relatively new member of VOCAL, while Steve has been with the group for a while. As is true in any live situation, an audience helps the performers bring out their best work, and tonight was no exception. Luckily for the two tonight, a large group of enthusiastic listeners assembled.

Burke Ingraffia

Burke is a New Orleans transplant to Richmond,  and brings with him a corresponding musical sound, lively, bouncy and upbeat.  During his song set he occasionally added harmonica to his guitar playing as was demonstrated in his first song, “Dusty Old Clock” which extolled the virtues of using time wisely. “If I don’t take the time, time will take me” he sang.   “Checks and Balances” took a humorous look at money saying in one line “I own a bank……..a piggy bank”,  which got  laugh from the audience.   a funky blues tune “That’s The Way Mountains Are Made” followed.  Next. Even though rainy weather may be depressing and something over which you have no control, you can control your inner self and how you react to your outer surroundings was the message of his  next song “Change of Heart”  this was followed by a great description of the over eager salesperson  which he cartooned in  “Business As Usual”  which made fun  of the stereotypical  guy with the glib tongue and half truths.  “Traveling At Night” followed and proclaimed “I won’t be slowed by the speed of light.”  His last song, also the title of his latest CD was “Waves” talks about inspiration and how it appears without warning “thoughts come out the blue” and we need to grab them before they disappear.  In his set, Burke showed a great versatility of ideas and styles of music which was well received and applauded.

Steve Fisher

Steve is a member of the Tin Can Fish band, a local Richmond mainstay.  Tonight he appeared as a solo act . Not to be undone in his performance, he started off with a rousing tale of a lady of the night “Brown Eyed Biloxi Queen” with whom he consorted at the astounding price of $20.   “Stow Away” pleaded to a lover “”Let’s go away together” and leave the world behind.  In “Falling Knife” the singer exhorted that we should be aware of the dangers in life and “you can’t catch a falling knife” without suffering the consequences of your actions.   In “Holding On” Steve talks about being estranged from life, disconnected from feelings and trying to get back home, all of which remain elusive.  Next song was “All Alone” sort of a spinoff of the previous song.  If ever anyone can find a permanent way to honor love and commitment, having their image “Tattooed On Your Heart” would certainly fit the bill and in here he sings about just that.  Next in his set was “Rollin’ and Tumblin’ Back To You”, a rousing number that outlines all the clues a lover might find to want to return to a previous committed situation, “I heard a song that made me cry” was one.  Lastly: “Fields Of The Lord” was a tribute to how black and white folks came together in the south through playing music together, stating “There must be something in the water” that unifies us all.

A good way to end the night.

Showcase Photos

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