Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
The January 2014 VOCAL Showcase drew a large crowd of interested folks at O’Toole’s on a cool winter evening. Sarah Kane opened the show with several of her heartfelt numbers – Polka in the Parking Lot (why not have champagne in your hatchback car?), Coffee (sounds like a tempting, toxic drink – are you ready for a taste of me?) Thank You James is a very beautiful ballad about a former special-needs student, and the chorus is from the kid himself, having a very insightful view of the world (a song about being free – his dad skipped town, his mom was let down). Follow You Down was a cool, memorable number about blindly following someone you really care about, perhaps even into eternal damnation. Reminded me of a Carter Family melody the way Sarah sang it. New Shoes is about wanting to change things up a bit, tired of being stuck in the same old place, I’m on my way to trying on new shoes, trying on a new groove. Sarah was joined by George Maida on Hello (I’ve waved goodbye, I’m all alone, nowhere to call my home – is anybody listening?) Sleep is a very haunting song about a friend with deep depression – sleep in your tangled sheets – drippy illusion, sticky confusion. It’s great to have Sarah back on the stage!
George Maida then took the stage with Kevin Beale on percussion, delivering some fine instrumentals on his electric guitar. His first number (country rock/sun God) was reminiscent of Yes’ Steve Howe with its intricate melodies. He then had two King David-inspired tunes: Psalm # 8 was a very mellow tune with the essence of snowfall (appropriate with the next day’s forecast), and Psalm # 150 was a very uptempo rock number inspired by King David’s poetry and his directive to praise the Lord with music. Winterburgen (sp?) was in a classical baroque style, again making me think of Steve Howe. Sarah came back on stage to sing Fall Into Autumn, a delightful Scottish ballad with a really cool, moving melody. George has been a big supporter of VOCAL through the years with his Electric Croude show on WCVE radio. It’s great to have him on the stage, as well!
VOCAL’s President, Matthew Costello, then jumped into the headliner’s spotlight with a Tony Bennett-sounding jazz number You Do it in Style. He then brought us I Wanna Catch a Ride on your Train of Thought (waiting for the light to go from red to green, wheels are pumping and the whistle blows). And You and I is a very beautiful ballad that only Matthew can deliver (if the river flows into the stream, which one is you or I?) A Meaningful One Night Stand was a definite crowd-pleaser (do you suppose they can relate?) He then brought the ever-lovely Eileen Edmonds onto the stage to sing Burning Down the Road, a minor-key uptempo song (the Devil is my anchor). Craig Evans (of The Taters fame) then joined the two of them for some stellar harmonies on Climbing the Stairway of Time. All Things Pass was a very thought-provoking number. Craig then joined him again for Faith Will Show the Way, a hopeful message to cure society’s ills. Matthew then delivered his greatest hit, Digging for Elvis, with Craig and Eileen again on harmony. For that matter, the entire audience of 30+ was singing harmony! The crowd wouldn’t let Matthew leave, so he performed a three-song encore (If You Knew, You’re All That Matters to Me, and Rock and Roll). This was Matthew’s first time on stage in nine years or so because of a nerve problem, so we were very excited and pleased to witness his return. Welcome back, Matthew!