Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Showcase: April 15, 2013 #261
Once again, O’Toole’s was the scene of VOCAL’S monthly showcase. Perhaps because of the looming tax deadline, or shock at the Boston marathon explosions/killings, the audience wasn’t as large as usual, though, the music they heard was thoroughly enjoyable. Tonight’s showcase featured Ray Brady, Bill Wellons and Steve Fisher. Ray started the program off playing his acoustic guitar solo in true troubador style, and mainly did a set of ballads. Most of his songs seemed to have a nostalgic quality to them, as the titles describe: “Where’d The Good Times Go” (self explanatory) “Before I Go” ( a song with a bucket list theme), “Turn Your Head” dealt with how fast the time goes by, and the closer “We Need a Hero”. His set was well received by the audience.
Bill Wellons followed Ray. Bill plays electronic keyboard. Most times when he does a showcase he’ll have pre-recorded tracks to play along to, but this night it was solo keys. One thing for sure, he has a wry sense of humor which permeates many of his songs. This was demonstrated right from the top, with “Better Stay In” which detailed all the pitfalls that can happen if one goes out. “Hurricane” a fairly new piece, had the feel of a Randy Newman song. Many of Wellon’s lyrics are conversational, the singer talking to an imaginary listener which draws you into the dialog, such as in
“A Long, Long Time Ago”. One observation that struck a chord and drew some audience reaction was in the closing song “It’s Been So Long” and that line about going to Nashville and “Writing songs nobody will hear” rang true with a lot of people. No question, though, if Bill goes to Nashville, his songs will definitely be heard.
After a short break, the featured performer of the night, Steve Fisher, took the stage. Using a resonator guitar and harmonica, in true folk fashion, Steve began with “Holding Back the Sea’ which was a song in keeping with the day’s tragic events, a little morose. But, not wanting to dwell on such sad things, Steve launched in an uptempo tune “Sweet Tea” which had a southern charm to it, then followed that with “Highway To Your Heart” more in the love vein. At this point, he switched to a standard guitar for the rest of his set, though detuning it for a couple of songs. After “Till Morning Comes” Steve tapped into his blues bag and Gave us his mandatory prison song “Joliet”, as if not to be outdone by The Man In Black. “Oh Susanna” borrowed it’s chorus riff from Steven Foster, but as Steve said: “He probably won’t be seeking any royalties”. “Muscle Shoals” about that legendary music town, followed, and somewhere in the distance one could hear the echo of Bob Dylan’s “Lay, Lady, Lay” filtering through the air. Last song in the set, a Fisher classic, was “Rollin’ ‘n Tumblin’ Back To You” which was done with great enthusiasm and energy.
All the performers were encouraged and by the audience, and if even, somewhat slim in number, they were generous in their appreciation of the music they heard.