Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
The 225th consecutive edition of VOCAL’s live music Showcase was presented at O’Toole’s Restaurant & Pub on April 19, 2010. A fine turnout of VOCAL members and others were treated to an evening of original songs that covered a lot of musical ground.
To get his the first set rolling, Louie Millhouse did an introductory song. What better way to introduce a songwriters’ show than to do it with an original song? It was a witty number that let us all know that “your mother will still love you, no matter how bad you suck.” Then, Louie got a little more serious and did a pop-sounding song followed by a nice latin-rhythm offering. Next, he was joined onstage by his daughter, Nancy Millhouse, on bass, and VOCAL-member Gary Shaver on flute for a song called “Lonely Waters”, which had a Van Morrison kind of feel. Gary Shaver moved over to keyboard and did a solid country love song, “Trading the Present for the Past,” as a tribute to a now-deceased, loyal and beloved Richmond music fan, Big Al. Gary was accompanied by singer Robyn Kim and Nancy Millhouse on bass. The same group stayed onstage for the next number, a pleasing latin-rhythm song, with solo singing by Robyn Kim, and followed that with an up-tempo latin sound featuring harmony singing by Louie, Gary, and Robyn. Then Gary Shaver was joined in a duet with Robyn Kim to do a country song, “Let’s Leave It Alone,” portraying a couple of reluctant lovers. Gary went on with the last number in the set, a country song written by VOCAL’s founder, Cham Laughlin, with Nancy Walker, telling about the ending of a love affair recognized by “the little things that you don’t do.” A very nice set of well-performed and entertaining songs.
Gerry Laverty came on to do the closing set. Gerry did a set of his trademark, densely poetic, thought-provoking folk songs, with a couple of style variations which provided a nice entertaining contrast. He started with “the details of the catastrophe” and moved into a bluesy song about the effect of insomnia on those “blues in the night.” Gerry followed this by a nice, folky song expressed from the point of view of an old house, with its reminiscences, and accompanied himself with harmonica. He went on with a very poetic song referring to the “blood of the Nazarene,” and then did the big crowd favorite, “Lonesome Blue Eyes,” a song that has been covered by several VOCAL members. Gerry went on with the powerful song of social commentary, “This Lethal World,” then closed with another trademark song about love out of reach at “Zion Crossroads.” As always, a strong set of heartfelt and emotional songs by Gerry Laverty.