Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
VOCAL Showcase March 21, 2011
There was a large crowd initially gathered at O’Toole’s on this warm first full day of Spring night, primed to enjoy this month’s VOCAL Showcase. The line-up had to be altered slightly as one player couldn’t make the event. Filling in for her. was John Ellis, who besides performing, runs the sound board and MC’s the event. though not simultaneously. John opened the night with a couple of his guitar instrumentals which displayed his composing skills and deft finger picking. Both featured elongated musical runs. He then segued into “In My Place” a song about relationships, and ended his short set with “The Stranger” one of his set pieces. After a short intermission, the next performer, Mike Shifflett, took the stage. Mike is new to VOCAL, which always makes for an interesting set, having never seen or heard him play before. Accompanying Mike on guitar was Greg Sullivan. First up was a “Why Do They Call It Love” which Mike sang and beat out the rhythm on his box seat. This was followed by “Heartaches Take Time” more relationship agony, and followed by “Down Home” an uptempo take on country life featuring chicken on sunday and blackberry pie. Mike closed out his set, again, very short, with a cover rendition of “Wichita Lineman”.nicely done, but obviously not an original song. During the break the audience sang Happy Birthday to Reza, Norm Nortledorf’s son-in-law. The featured performer of the evening was Larry Cody, who is a longtime VOCAL member and well regarded songwriter and guitar player. Given lots of time to fill, Larry proceeded through a repertoire of ten songs both old and new. Like some of the previously performed songs, many were relationship oriented. Playing electric guitar and using pre-recorded tracks he kicked off his set with a good old rock and roll type song “I Do It Cause I LIke It’ and moved into “Without a Doubt”. Calling up Doug Patrick to assist on guitar, Larry did rendition of Doug’s song “Full Time Love”, which was well received by the audience. They proeeded to perform two more songs together, “Now I Know” and “Winter’s On The Way”. Gary Shaver then came up to help out on the next three songs, playing sax. HIghlight of that collaboration was “Involuntary Celibacy” a cute novelty song. Going solo for the last two numbers of his set, Larry did one of his newer tunes “What I Thought You Said” about communication problems between partners and then closed out with and oldie “North In November” about a lover’s flight from Louisiana to the northern climes, a very touching and moving piece, that received a rousing response from the dedicated audience members. All in all, an entertaining and diverse night of musical artistry.