VOCAL songwriters, performers and the public gathered together at Richbrau’s TapHouse to start off the holidays with live, original music. A selection of VOCAL’s membership turned out to perform their material for a lively, attentive audience. The showcase counter flipped to 210 as we kicked off the event on December 15, 2008. You can find more information about the upcoming showcase at www.vocalsongwriter.org/showcase.html.
For over two years now, Richbrau’s TapHouse has hosted the VOCAL Showcase every third Monday of the month. VOCAL’s original music is complimented by original, home crafted beverages and fine cuisine. Join us at 1212 East Cary Street for the best in original songwriting from Virginia artists.
James Lester kicked off the night with his own style of instrumental blues. Much of James’ music was finger-style picking on a sweet sounding, hollow body electric that rang out with a cool, jazzy feel. The eight song set included ‘Bucky’s Blues’ as well as ‘Bernie and the D Blues’, written in honor of two cats. James conveyed a rich, bluesy feel as he moved his hands about the fretboard, demonstrating dexterity and creativity. We look forward to James’ return to the showcase in February 2009.
Gary Shaver and Jim Uzel joined forces for the next round of music as they took turns featuring their own material in an in-the-round format. Gary’s songs included ‘Somewhere Between Her and You’, ‘Right Through My Mind’, ‘Calling You Back Home’, ‘Take Me Back’ and ‘I Stand Amazed’. This sampling of Gary’s music reflected the ballads and love songs that he is known for. ‘Calling You Back Home’ was written on Thanksgiving weekend a few years ago – the song title reminds me of someone reflecting on a loved one during the holiday season. ‘I Stand Amazed’ is Gary’s self-described ‘happy song’, which he dedicated to a friend in the audience.
Jim Uzel’s portion of the set included songs with a seasonal theme. Jim’s songs ‘Spirits in the Rain’, ‘Christmas Love’ and ‘Gifts of a Child’ were accompanied by his resonator acoustic guitar, which sometimes provided a haunting feel to the melody. It was good to have Jim on stage again.
Darryl Ellyson stepped up to the microphone next with some great time tested songs as well as one song written since his November showcase performance. ‘I’m Not Afraid’ is a favorite of mine, with a powerful, moving melody, strong vocals and intense lyrics. The rest of the set included ‘You and Me Baby’, ‘I Don’t Know’ and Darryl’s new song ‘Pushin’ Against My Heart’.
Gerry Laverty closed out the evening with some of his most popular songs. ‘Details of Castrophe’ started the short set, followed by the song ‘Lonesome Blue Eyes’ which is a fanatastic song that is an instant favorite with the first listening. ‘I am a House’ was inspired by the sudden death of a friend. ‘Zion Crossroads’ is another crowd favorite and sample of Gerry’s ablilities with creative, poetic songwriting.
Thanks to our performers for making the holiday season ever more enjoyable with their talents on the showcase stage. The showcase event and coverage was made possible by a team of VOCAL volunteers made up of Larry Cody (tent cards), Matthew Costello (web updates), Gerry Laverty (photography) and John Ellis (sound services). We thank all those who come out in support of live, original music and we hope that everyone can join us again next month for the longest running, original music showcase in Central Virginia!