Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Sept. 2013 VOCAL Showcase
Tonight’s showcase featured three male songwriters, John Ellis, Dick Upton and Drexel Rayford. The house was close to full for this evening’s entertainment. First up was John Ellis,playing an electric guitar with pre-recorded tracks along the way.. His set included a mix of instrumentals and vocals. He demonstrated his dexterity on the strings with a blues number called Black Kittens, showing some fine fingering. “The Stranger” is John’s signature song and he didn’t disappoint, adding this vocal selection to the mix.
Next up was Dick Upton. This was his debut showcase for VOCAL, though he previously performed at a VOCAL open mic night. He dedicated this night’s performance to the late Curly Cook (Steve Miller Band) a long time friend who passed from cancer. Dick demonstrated some outstanding keyboard chops on his opening song Cool Water, with some excellent and fluid blues riffs. Going Down To Georgia kicked the tempo up and was well received by the audience. He then switched to guitar. which he showed command of, as well, and did a tribute number to Curly, Distant Friend, and continued with two more songs to close out his set. His showmanship on the two instruments was rewarded with loud applause from the crowd.
The featured performer of the night was Drexel Rayford. He’s done a couple of showcases before, but this was his first time as a headliner. He kicked off his set with a comedy number No Diner in Amherst which drew in the audience for the rest of his tunes. (Titles of the songs were surmised as they were not announced). Days of The Empire detailed the deconstruction of civilization in an entertaining way, and Gallileo, was a tale about the astronomer that delighted and educated at the same time, and was extremely well received. The next song (no title) depicted a father’s observations while watching his daughter grow into womanhood, and had a touch of humor and nostalgia rolled into one, Drexel then segued back into a humorous tale about the biggest ball of twine in the country in Copper City (Kansas) Ball of Twine, finishing off his set with a Christian oriented number A Spring That Never Runs Dry. His versatility of subject and lyric skills shone through the whole set.