Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
VOCAL June 2014 Showcase.
There was a large noisy crowd gathered at O’Toole’s tonight. though, not for the VOCAL showcase. It was the World Cup soccer match between the USA and Ghana that attracted them to the bar. It was not until the noisy group departed at around 8:30 PM that the showcase could finally begin.Tonight’s line-up included long time member Glenda Creamer, newcomer, Keely Burn and another long time member, Bill Wellons.
Glenda Creamer, who was mourning the loss of her longtime friend Kelly, started off the show on acoustic and demonstrated great versatility in her song topics. First tune was about “Mr. Cool” a satiric look at someone who thinks he is “it”,”September Wind” longed for the freedom of the open seas, much like the birds that fly overhead and float on the early fall breezes. Using biblical allegory “Wandering Child” was Glenda’s take on the tale of the prodigal son, with the plea to please come home. Happily, he does. “I’m a Witch” depicted a person in an evil mood, and “Origami” was a song about the art of paper folding. The life of a moonshiner, Marvin, was narrated in her “Moonshine Song” where unfortunately, he comes to a sad ending. The last song in her set was “Send a Prayer Up”, co written by Glen King, which was dedicated to her friend Kelly and the crowd could feel the emotion Glenda projected as she was barely able to make it to the end. all in all, a well received performance.
Keely Burn is the youngest member of VOCAL, and new to the music stage at O’Toole’s. However, she seemed to handle her turn like a pro as she performed five of her original tunes. With a good singing voice and her keyboard she opened up her set with “The Spirit Is In Me” a praise filled song about asking and receiving the love of God. “Whoa” was filled with advice about love for lovers. As a songwriting student, Keely attended a well regarded song camp at Interlochen (Mi.) where she was challenged by instructors to create various pieces of music based on prompted themes. One such creation was “Traveling with Eyes Wide Open” which was about observing and enjoying what surrounds us in the world with the lines “Take me for a ride” and “look for wonders” embedded within. Another song camp creation was “Gatsby” taken from the F Scott Fitzgerald novel “The Great Gatsby”. It was written from the character’s POV about his love for Daisy. another character in the book. Sticking to literature as inspiration, Keely drew from George Orwell’s 1984 for her final song “Political Act” which advised listeners to “form a pact, complete the political act” and rise up against big brother. her set was quite an in depth display of material of mostly linear construction supported by framework rhythms which allowed the listener to fill in the nuances of melody.
Closing the show, was old pro Bill Wellons. Using a keyboard and recorded backing tracks, he presented a menu of ten songs. varied in style and content. Opening the set was “Hey Now” a new piece which asked “Where are you leading us to”? as perhaps a political question. “The World Keeps turning” was designed to lull us into complacency with the premise everything remains the same, Danger on the dark streets and shadowy corners was outlined with the warning to “Stay in Tonight”. Be safe rather than sorry, with a Randy Newmanesque feel to the piano stylings and rhythms. A comparison to changing times and interests from the 60’s Beatles to the 80’s Berlin Wall to 2001 were described in the next song, followed by “Idiosyncrasy” which suggested we should all do what ever the hell we want, ” You be you and I’ll be me” attitude. The generational tale “Old Folks” was followed by “Just a Wish Away” a somewhat melancholy song about longing for love. A tale about living in the backwoods was next and lastly, “While The Time Away” painted a cozy picture of dreaming by the fire on a cold December day, describing all the pleasures of stying inside. Bill definitely showed us why he is popular with the crowd. His knowledge of music construction shows in every song with the intricacy of chords and deft melodic structure he chooses to display.