Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
The April 2015 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase featured three very talented writers who each brought their unique style to the stage.
Markiss Blowfish (Mark Branch) opened the show with his stylistic blues-ish means of conveying his stories. Mark is a street musician who travels with Betty Lou (his guitar), often playing local farmers markets. He started with You Got a Ticket, a train song, and then moved us down the track to Betty Lou, his guitar’s namesake (she’s my kind of girl, and drives me wild…). He then delivered Jody (you’re no-good, low-down). He then brought us All About Nothing (he said the song is all about nothing, but there was a lot of calling and texting going on!). Mark then had a change of heart with a tender love song Pretty Little Love Song (I want to sing a little love song – what could go wrong?) Maybe Mark needs to “branch” out in a new love-song direction! We Have to Try is a hopeful tune about making love work, and says there’s no need for fighting. Mark ended his set with his version of a John Lee Hooker song I Take my Whiskey Late at Night – pour the hard stuff down the drain, and bring me one of them beers!
Dick Upton then took the stage with a re-invented musical self, playing guitar accompanied by his electronic “Buddy in a Box”. This device is pretty cool – it automatically provides harmony vocals based on your own! Don’t Let the Treadmill be Your Drummer’s Beat was an ode to “taking time to smell the roses, as life is too short!” Take Me Back calls for the good old days when life was simpler. Dick then displayed some fine guitar in a rock-and-roll number (You Don’t Have to Fall Down Low to Reach Out to the Man up Above). Borrow Against Tomorrow was reminiscent of the Allman Brothers with its guitar-infused magic. Dick ended his set with I Just Wanna Go Down Where Everybody Knows My Name, a tribute to VOCAL and the welcoming/like-mindedness spirit the group offers (I don’t need trophies, fortune and fame, just some place where people know my name). The feelings are mutual, Dick! Kudos to Dick for stretching his boundaries of songwriting by embracing a new instrument and bravely writing/performing new songs with an unfamiliar instrument over just a few months’ time.
Bill Wellons entered the headliner spot on his ever-popular keyboards and started with If You Ever Send Me Away, asking the questions like who’s gonna love you when you’re old and gray, and who’s gonna make you biscuits like I do? He then brought us a very beautiful monthly April love song about unrequited love called You’re Only a Wish Away. A Long Time Ago reminisces about the innocent days back in 1965, when we saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. In the Mind of a Child was another “look-back” to the innocent years when we played baseball every day, and our pet dog also served as the umpire. My Shiny New DeVille was a cool groovy tune about a desire to buy a new Caddie and hit the road. Better Stay in Tonight is inspired by an elderly gentlemen who lives alone with his dog in an inner-city neighborhood. Gunshots sound out, and I’d get away if I could! Be True to Yourself is a very poignant tune telling us you can’t be true to others if you can’t be true to yourself! While The Time Away takes us back to the snowfalls in winter when we just need to stay inside, build a warm fire, and snuggle on down! Bill was joined by Norman Roscher, for whom he wrote the song I Think I’m Gonna Take my Baby Dancing. This is a crowd favorite and brought the folks alive! He ended the night with Just a Song I Wrote for You, a simple song, not too long.