Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
The July 2015 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase (287th!!) featured two relative newcomers to VOCAL, Joanie Valentine and Guy Gorman, and the seasoned long-time member David Atkins.
Joanie opened the show on keyboards with her very smooth, mellow jazz and blues creations that only she can deliver. This was her first solo performance at the VOCAL showcase. I felt I was sitting in a comfy jazz club somewhere listening to a diva. She opened her set with Never Love That Way Again, remembering that she quivered at the warmth of the touch, and her heart will never mend after this relationship ended. Love You Still, a signature Joanie tune, followed, bringing more love-lost lament that she knows so well. Foolish had a cool play one words, it’s always been you, it’s always been me, but it’s too soon to be us. She ended her set with a moving a cappella number (using only a shaker) You Broke My Heart Real Slow. She intimated that she “gave her heart too easily, but you took it, so you can share the blame”. Kudos to this great talent who delivered her original numbers despite being somewhat under the weather!
David Atkins then took the stage, a welcome return of a long-time VOCAL-onian. He performed “in the raw” (but was clothed), armed with only a warm-sounding acoustic guitar and sans backing tracks. This bare-bones approach allowed us to witness his true vocal and musical talents. He opened with a familiar number Wishing You Were Here, a cheating/leaving song. When a Woman Smiles is a new tune from David, and had me humming/singing along the entire way. I think many of us can relate to this! That Little House on Leeksville Road was a haunting number that draws you into the story of a return trip to the place you used to call home. There’s Only One Drink in the Bottle was delivered as only David can do it, the story unfolding in a favorite bar near you. You’re just a drink away from loneliness! Put Down the Phone and Drive is a fairly new tune that we can probably all relate to. I want to make it home alive! David ended his set with his songwriter’s anthem Sing Your Own Song. It’s a wonderful tribute to his fellow songwriters who pour their hearts out every night.
Guy Gorman delivered numerous tales of love, humor, reminiscence, and everything in between. He played harmonica and guitar on most of his tunes, which was effective in conveying their essence. Love Makes the World Go Round had a Marty Robbins feel to me, as did several of his songs. It’s a Holiday in my Head is a somewhat-twisted (but relatable) song about being at work but not really “being” there. Bicycle Bell was a Jonathan Richman-ish tune reminiscing the wonderful memories of ringing and hearing the bell on the bike when you were riding all over creation. Let’s Rock and Roll is our way out of the current “mess” you may find yourself in – rock and roll heals all! He then followed with the Richmond Flying Squirrels fight song, which elicited audience participation. In My Life is a song we can all relate to, about the need to have music in our lives (including Ludwig…). Guy performed a signature song of fellow VOCAL member Claudia Carawan, Fearless. This is a wonderful creation of hers, and it was very honorable of him to perform the number. You Ought to Know Better Than to Play That Rock and Roll is a tribute to the life of a musician, putting up with criticism from mom and dad, etc. Outa my Rut and Into the Groove is a cool tune about getting your head on straight and your heart “resurrected”. I Wash the Dishes is one of our favorites from Guy (and obviously for the ladies). Some of us can certainly relate to that tune! I Wanna Be Loved by You had the audience singing along, and the show ended with God’s Got It, encouraging us to seek divine guidance when we may be down – perfect gifts come from up above.
A wonderful entertaining evening was enjoyed by all!