A small but enthusiastic crowd was present for the 214th consecutive VOCAL showcase at the Taphouse Grill. John Ellis and Darryl Ellyson treated us to their unique styles of crooning/rocking/bluesing throughout the evening.
John Ellis started the show with Just What You’re Looking For, an instrumental he wrote for his brother’s wedding. A tender, smooth melody found its way up and down the neck of his electric guitar. He then covered Gary Shaver’s A Crying Shame (blaming himself for losing his girlfriend to another guy), and moved into another instrumental, A Timepiece. I Wish You Would was co-written with a friend, and had some wonderful Mother Nature images about beautiful trees, mountains, valleys, etc. Chimes was another tender instrumental with stellar finger-picking on the electric guitar, but then morphed into a rocking Groove Thing, which reminded me of Felix Pappalardi’s early guitar playing in the group Mountain. T.J.’s Jam was a relentless, driving rock song reminiscent of ZZ Top. The Stranger is a new song (“love is a stranger I can’t get to know”)John wrote recently, and I thought I detected a bit of Carlos Santana influence in there, but who knows! Brother is another new song of John’s, where he states “When you give a woman your soul, you’ve lost control”. I thought I heard some Stephen Stills licks in that one! In My Place was another serious rocking number where a woman unfortunately had to put him in his place! Everyone enjoyed the lightning-fast guitar playing John delivers, and the cool effects he coaxes out of his stompbox!
Darryl Ellyson then took the stage with a really cool Do You Think of Me When the Sun Goes Down (oh, if we could only control someone’s thoughts and dreams!). Just No Other Way was about trying to live with a woman with darkness in her heart and whose love is like a spring tornado – hit or miss and then it’s gone. I Still Believe is a wonderful, uplifting love ballad about keeping that spark going for many years, despite challenges along the way. Done With You is a good-riddance blues tune about ten years of trying to make love work to no avail. Thinking About You is a new love song – thinking of you when you’re far away, wondering exactly where you are, I think I saw you in the moon… Maybe This Time is a form of “decompression blues” where he has to make a fishing getaway to get his head together and have his space – a battle between love and hate – I’m sure love will win! I Need a Little Help to Get By really cries the blues about how painful it is since you’ve been gone – I try to smile once in a while. I swore I heard Davie Bowie in the room when Darryl played When the Levee Breaks – just something about the catchy melody! News Man Blues instructed us to be careful breaking news and breaking rules – you might just catch the blues! I Sure Ain’t Been in Hell recounts the various travels to Georgia , Texas, etc. He wasn’t in Heaven, but was far from Hell! It Caused My Heart to Bleed was just written in April. How would you feel if you woke up to see the sunrise and realized your woman never came home the night before? Keep those blues coming, Darryl!