Songwriters Showcase May 2008

Showcase 202 was a special night as VOCAL held its annual ‘Cover Night’.  Once a year the VOCAL songwriters share the spotlight, in spirit, by performing a song or two of their favorite songwriter(s) from the membership.  At least one song of a two to three song set must be from a fellow VOCAL member.  The night for this special event was May 19, 2008.

We’ve been proud to be hosted each month by Richbrau’s TapHouse Grill as we approach our third year at this great Shockoe Slip location.   Always a selection of fine home brewed beverages and superbly prepared meals.  Please join us every third Monday of the month for a night of original music, freshly prepared food and the company of great friends at 1212 East Cary Street in historic Shockoe Slip.

As the cool spring weather brought gentle rolling breezes through the TapHouse doors, Gary Shaver prepared to start the cover night.  ‘I Stand Amazed’ is a Shaver original – a wonderful ballad that is always a welcome addition to any showcase.  The first cover of the night was a song penned by an original VOCAL member Nancy Walker, the song was ‘One More Time’.  Gary finished the first set with his own ‘One More Time’.

The second set of the night belonged to Matt Manion.  Matt had two cover songs to deliver.  ‘Just Takes One’ is a Jim Uzel song that explores the impact on society when one person decides to do the right thing and whether, when we look into ourselves, we could have done the right thing in many situations.  Matt’s second song was ‘The Stranger’ a John Ellis song.  Matt invited John to the stage to accompany on lead electric to compliment Matt’s rhythm guitar.  Matt finished out with ‘Job Hunting Blues’ his own song.

John Ellis followed Matt’s performance with a Craig Evans (the Taters) tune ‘Without Your Love’.  John finished up with ‘I Wish You Would’ (co-written by friend Jeff Cuneo) and ‘In My Place’ a song about a relationship where the lovin’ seems good but it’s only for the temporary benefit of avoiding loneliness.

Long time member and superb song writer Steve Nuckolls took to the stage, starting off with newer member Gaby Martinez’s ‘Growing Pains’.  Steve closed out with his own ‘Sunrise’ a newer song with a great feel of easy reflection, and ‘When the Flag’s Halfmast’.

Gary Shaver contributed a second set to the evening and added a second song by Jim Uzel ‘Sweet Love Song’.  The follow up was Larry Cody’s ‘Why Would Anyone Go North in November’ with the great line “If you’ve ever been in love, you know”.

Gerry Laverty brought the warm, wonderful sounds of his acoustic stylings to the TapHouse with a Stever Fisher song ‘Raphael’, which has been covered on a recording by the Taters.  For the second song, Gerry introduced his new creation ‘Troubled Life’ and then closed out with ‘Missoula’.

Mark Branch finished up VOCAL’s evening with two of his own numbers ‘I’ll Be All Right’ and ‘Why Don’t You Treat Me Like You used To Do’ continuing his great rhythmic creations steeped heavily in the blues tradition.

It wouldn’t be a showcase without a crowd, so thanks to our attendees for making the night something good.  We have a dedicated staff of volunteers who make each month’s showcase a great event, Larry Cody provides table tent cards, John Ellis provides the sound and Matthew Costello is acting photographer and webmaster.  Thanks to all of the performers who bring their dedication and creations to the showcase stage.  We’ll see you all next month!

- John Ellis