VOCAL Songwriter Showcase – August 19, 2013
The August 2013 showcase was opened by Steve “Tunesmith” Smithson, a long-time VOCAL member who also doubled as soundman. He brought us several acoustic guitar-driven songs in a variety of styles. Old Toys was reminiscent of playing with the box of old toys that Grandpa always kept around. History handed down, indeed! For a Moment Young was written during a Myrtle Beach visit after witnessing several youths being chased up the beach by a storm, after which the ancient memories came flooding back. Dark Moon was the first eclipse song of the evening (probably the first and last time in VOCAL history we’ll have two eclipse songs in the same night!) He’s been captivated and chained by the daughter of the dark moon, but my, those chains feel nice. I Will Not Last a Year was an emotional them on what would happen if she leaves him. I’ve Got an Extreme Case of the Gender Blues was a cool bluesy tune with a good play on words: You live and you love with the shoes that fit, like ice cream without the popsicle stick. Steve ended the set with It Ain’t Worth Feeling Bad – I don’t hang out much, but do keep in touch with my old friends.
Nancy Rives then took the stage and delivered several of her tender, heartfelt melodies. Her first number was written as a tribute to the International Day of the Girl and in honor of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl shot last year. She had a very though-provoking message about human rights, education, etc. He Doesn’t Know a Stranger was written in honor of her father, who greets everyone he meets with eye contact and a pleasant “Hello”. When you speak to a stranger you have a better day! Through Thick and Thin was written about her favorite bakery, Sub Rosa, that had a tragic fire several months ago. Like the Phoenix, this bakery (and the dough?) shall rise again! The second (and last) eclipse song of the evening was Shadow of Myself. My life’s passing like the eclipse, and when I look into the mirror I see only a shadow of myself. Her next tune is untitled, and was another tribute to her father. The phrase “Everything good about me came from him” pretty much sums up the story – perhaps that could be worked into a title somehow. Nancy ended her set with River City, a very descriptive tune about the City of Richmond, weaving into it the river, the cool neighborhoods, shopping, etc.
Cheryl Fare then took the stage as headliner, accompanied by the ever-talented Matt Treacy. The two harmonize quite well, and Matt’s stellar guitar-playing adds much flavor to the songs. She opened with Holy Moses, a bluesy number – look who just walked in the door – it’s too hot to breathe, cat’s got my tongue. Settle In was a tender love song – want you to know what makes me tick – the first kiss was nice, but we need more to see us through – you’re my permanent favorite squeeze. I Got to Move was a very up-tempo blue number – I can’t wait for the sun to come around – I’ve been around for some 30 years – I got to move! Matt then delivered the really beautiful The Queen’s Room, with Cheryl providing some touching, perfect harmony. This Thing was another tender love song – what are we doing? Is it good or bad? Her newest song is Face to Face, which she performed in public for the first time, another lovely song – I’ll stay hand-in-hand and turn with you. Springfield is a song we can all relate to, about going back to your High School and finishing things you never got to before. Matt offered some more fine guitar playing on this number. Matt then delivered some stellar vocals with his The Only Girl to Ever Sing the Blues. Same Old Dance was another tender, touching love song – I’ll dance that same old dance – I’ll look right past your little white lies. They closed out the night with Thank You, a bluesy, feel-good song which was written for a church gig. Quite an ode to gratitude!