Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
September 2011 VOCAL Showcase #242
Despite a light turnout, this night’s VOCAL showcase was enthusiastically presented. A standout group of performers gave the audience what they came for, lots of great music and entertainment. The entertainers were eclectic, emotional and eccentric. A somewhat novel approach for showcase was used for the first set of performers, three songwriters doing a round robin of songs, alternating after each song. Though, it might have been better to have three stools and the singers on stage throughout the set, the result was still very successful. First up, was Eileen Edmonds, a songwriter of well honed material and voice. She presented an eclectic mix of music during her five song set. Standouts included “Don’t Forget Mississippi”, “Roaring Back” and “Pieces of Light” which received lots of applause. She is a well seasoned veteran and skilled artist in the Richmond music scene. Following her in the rotation was Pam McCarthy. Pam is a long time VOCAL member and well known performer in Central Virginia. Much of her material on the 12 string, was highly emotional, detailing failing relationships and heartfelt longing. Standouts included “The Good Years”, “Just a Kiss” and Empty Arms”. (titles intuited). Her voice was well suited to the material. Last in the round robin, but certainly not a subset, was Glenda Creamer, a lady of immense talent and story-telling ability. She wowed the audience with some humorous and eccentric country themed songs and musical longings such as the opener “Sailing September Winds”, Among the favorites and cheer getters were “Dumpling” and “Country Kids”. Much of her material was infused with high soprano voicings that added to the sort of homespun presentation. Overall: these three women ably demonstrated what a fine array of musical talent we have in VOCAL.
Featured artist of the evening was Bill Wellons. An apt title for him might be “Mr. Pianoman” as he demonstrated his highly versatile ability at the keyboard throughout his nine song set. Name a style, jazz, country, blues. pop and he can do it. “Lucky Old Guy” exhibited a Randy Newmanish quality of well composed pop. “Three Ring Circus” accompanied by Gary Shaver on sax, fell right into the novelty bag. “Penicillin” (John Ellis on guitar) provided some comic relief and showed off Bill’s great lyric sense. With vocal assistance from Steve Nuckolls, Bill next delighted the audience with his homage to Lady Gaga. And then there was the show stopper, “Gonna Take My Baby Dancing” a 1920’s style tune, which apparently was especially written for the singer of it, Norman Nortledorf who, in his best dress-up outfit, gave us a raucous animated performance of the song. Closing out the night, Bill played a couple of blues tinged songs to complete a well presented. pleasing night of musical variety and song stylings. Kudos also go out Steve Smithson for doing a fine job handling the sound board and mixing.