Saturday, April 26th, 2014
VOCAL Showcase: April 2014
Tonights’ showcase featured John Ellis, Steve Nuckolls, and Louie Millhouse. While the audience was small, the enthusiasm for the performers was large. First up, John Ellis, soloing with an electric guitar, set up his set of songs in a chronological manner from earliest to most recent. He started with an older tune “The Least You Could’ve Done Is Call” an uptempo piece in which the singer is abandoned by his girlfriend for another lover and doesn’t even get a call to kiss him off, but somehow he accepts her decision and moves on. “The Stranger” is an Ellis standard, about a character looking for love, but not very successfully. The next song “Honestly” in which the singer dismisses his girlfriend with the line “you can go to hell” elicited A big reaction from the audience. Going to acoustic guitar, “Winter Solstice” was an instrumental selection which featured many chord changes. “Five Black Kittens” another instrumental, which had been lying around unfinished for awhile, came to life electrically with help from a track. Closing out his set, with one of his newest creations John performed “I’ll Be There For You” which was about being supportive and was enhanced by a pretty melody.
Taking center stage next was Steve Nuckolls, armed with his acoustic guitar. Always a crowd pleaser, he did not disappoint. “Sitting In With Emmy Lou” described his secret fantasy to play along with Emmy Lou Harris by spending saturday mornings listening to her songs and strumming along. “Everything’s Just Too Good” could be interpreted as a cynical statement, from the title, but in reality, the singer really means it. He enjoys his life, his relations hips and affirms “it’s good to be alive”. “Something About Your Love” is a Nuckolls favorite judging from the audience reaction and it has a good singalong chorus that people were mouthing. Looking for a chance to be considered as a love interest was the theme of the next tune “Put Me On Your Playlist”. The dichotomy in country music these days between traditional and contemporary camps was explored in the song “Countryversy” which asks the question “Can we all just get along”? There is room for each of us, and no need to hurl invectives. Closing out his set, Steve performed “Lines of Love” which examined the connection between two people and what makes their realtionship special.
Louie Millhouse, closed out the night with his mostly quirky and entertaining set of tropical songs. Getting support from friends and family, his first tune, “An Introduction Song” was full of hilarious references to showcases, songwriting, and performing: “No matter how back you suck” at any of it, your mother will still love you and the sun will shine tomorrow, so go ahead and step out. Well said. “Forever, Again” was a poignant tribute to his parents, who meet during WWII and outlined their courtship and long standing love, it featured his daughter Nancy on bass. Marilyn Brown dueted on the next song “And I Always Will” which detailed navigating a relationship. A bossa nova “Summer Song” was a pleasant trip down to the beach for some sun and fun. One of Louie’s most requested tunes followed. “Kara’s Mom” a fun song about his wife was uplifted by the flute stylings of Gary Shaver (Blade) and many in the audience could be seen singing along with the infectious chorus. Continuing the tropical feel if his set, Millhouse took us on a musical trip to Marathon down along the Florida keys. “Marauder” was a song about falling in love. To close out his set, Louie (on trumpet) brought back all his players, Nancy, Blade (sax) and Marilyn (vocal) to help him on a rousing rockabilly tune “Hip Hop Party” Full of references to 50’s culture, burgers, fries, soda pop, teen-aged love and daddy’s chevrolet, it was a prequel to the duet mentioned above. The audience went wild.