It was a cold, windy night in Richmond, Virginia as the showcase stage was set up and the equipment turned on to warm up. Our performers were ready to go to keep the pre-holiday spirits up and present some of the best original music that VOCAL has to offer. The showcase counter flipped to 209 and the performers tuned up for a night of great music. It was November 17, 2008.
As always, we like to take a moment to thank Richbrau’s TapHouse Grill for hosting the showcase every 3rd monday of the month. Join us at 1212 East Cary Street in historic Shockoe Slip for great food, home brewed beverages and live entertainment from Virginia’s songwriters.
The evening’s first performer was Justin Brown. This was Justin’s first Showcase appearance, but he is not a stranger to the stage having performed in his former band Plaid Rose. Justin also enjoys recording his own material in his home studio. Joining Justin on stage was a great local harmonica player from the band Barrelhouse, Tom Mayer. Justin and Tom are both members of the River City Blues Society www.wegotblues.com where they work to ensure that the blues tradition is kept alive in Virginia.
Justin kicked off the evening with a Beatle-esque tune ‘Lead Me On’ followed up by ‘Whiskey Towne’. The song ‘Footsteps’ was written by Justin right after graduating High School and moving out into his own home. ‘Mississippi Railroad’ is a tune penned just six months prior to the showcase and a song with a steady, driving rhythm that reminded me of a train chugging down the line. The next two songs were written by Tom Mayer and they were heavy on the blues! ‘All My Wife’s Relations’ was a somewhat humorous and lyrically interesting song with the line ‘…of all my wife’s relations, I like my self the best…’. The song ‘Blue Eyes’ was an upbeat number with a theme that things are not always as they seem. Tom’s harmonica work filled the TapHouse with the spirit of the blues, ringing out sweet riffs just dripping with feeling and grit. Justin and Tom closed out the set with ‘Shake the Dew’ and ‘Turn Your Damper Down’. Thanks to Justin for getting the evening off to an inspiring, blues driven beggining!
VOCAL was pleased to welcome back a Showcase regular and a great local song writer. Darryl Ellyson has a songwriting and performing history going back at least twenty years including performances in different local bands. Since becoming part of VOCAL, Darryl’s songwriting has been quite impressive with the ability to turn out many catchy, well written songs of many styles sometimes completing songs in a single day.
Darryl started off his set with ‘Raindrops Fallin” and ‘Final Hour’. The second song highlighted Darryl’s ability to convey an emotional, soulful feel. ‘I’m Gone’ is a new song written two weeks before the showcase. ‘Teardrops Cover my Pillow’ has a lyrical meter and melodic structure that really allows Darryl to show the power of his voice – it’s a light-hearted, blues inspired song. The country-blues song ‘That’s Just the Way Love Goes’ uses the lower ranges of Darryl’s voice and demonstrates his songwriting talents with the line “…remember the good times, forget the bad, that’s just the way love goes…”.
Darryl continued the set with a second new song ‘It’s So Hard’ followed up by ‘I’ve Got to Walk On’ and the rocking blues number ‘Been Out Travelin”, where Darryl’s vocals were strong and powerful. The set wrapped up with ‘Tell Me Baby’, ‘I’m Not Afraid’, ‘I Don’t Know’, ‘Broken Dreams’, and ‘When I Get Home’.
We must thank the volunteers that make the showcase happen each month. Larry Cody provides the table tent cards to inform the audience, John Ellis provided sound services and we thank Matthew Costello for keeping the showcase information on the website. And, of course, thanks to each performer who made the showcase a great musical affair. And thanks to all who support the performers. Join us again the third Monday of next month for the best in original songwriting and performing on the VOCAL Showcase!