Songwriters Showcase July 2007

VOCAL Showcase #192 escaped the thunderclaps and potential summer time torrents of Richmond’s weather.  The July 16, 20007 event at Richbrau’s TapHouse Grill was another ‘come as you are’ format, where the play bill was built around the songwriters in attendance.

The team of Shaver and Uzel once again provided the sound and MC duties for the Showcase.  Gary Shaver started the evening off with his songs “Telling Me Goodbye” and “I Still Burn”.

Steve Nuckolls took to the stage to offer his songs “Making My Get Away”, “Hand Me Downs” and the newer “Sunrise”.  Steve’s “Hand Me Downs” has become one of my favorites, but all three songs are indicative of his thoughtful and well crafted songwriting.

Marti Hartung captured the feelings of the VOCAL membership on a rainy evening at Dogwood Dell, immortalized in the lyrics to “Disappointing Rain”.  “Hoover Town” was a comment on at least one Richmond audience who sucked the life out of musicians by treating the band as little more than musical wallpaper.   Marti closed out the set with “Mystery”.

Matt Manion had travel on his mind when he took the stage.  Matt gave the Showcase crowd a look back to 1978 when he worked in the oil fields of Louisiana staying at the “Royal Roach Hotel”.  And I think a lot of travelers can relate to the idea of “Sit Down for Stand By”.

Jim Uzel was in fine form when he gave the audience three unique songs to ponder.  “Winter, Summer Dreamer”, “September Rain” and “Too Many Angels” made up Jim’s set and featured Mark Branch during “September Rain”.  Gary Shaver added support to “Winter, Summer Dreamer”.  “Too Many Angels” was inspired by the events of September 11.

Mark Branch brought Marti Hartung back to the stage to perform his own song “I’ll Be Alright”.  My personal take is that this is one of Mark’s best offerings yet, with that great blues back beat, his booming baritone blues voice and that wailing harmonica blended in to one great song.

Gary Shaver was kind enough to close the evening out with two more songs, “Trading the Present for the Past” and “Somewhere Between Her and You”.  What a great way to end an evening with so much variety and great song writing.

We have had a great group of volunteers over the past year who support the Showcase.  Larry Cody produces the play bills that are distributed to all of the tables.  Our dedicated sound man Jim Uzel will be turning the duties over to John Ellis for the next year.  Thanks to Jim for all he’s done and we hope to see him at all of the Showcases.  And finally to Gary Shaver who has done MC duties and has been there in so many ways.  Thanks to all who make it possible!

- John Ellis