Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
The October 2015 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase had a small but attentive crowd and featured three VOCAL writers: Steve Nuckolls, Joanie Valentine and Matt Manion.
Steve opened the show with his “glass is half-full” Everything’s Just Two Good. He followed with the dedicated-love song Lines of Love. Open Doors is a mellow “hymn of thanks” reflecting his many blessings in life, and positive outlook on life. Sitting in with Emmylou reminisces about his days following college when he purchased his first decent (easy to play) guitar and was determined to learn many of Emmylou Harris’ cool songs. He followed with the up-tempo Something About Your Love, yet another of his many love songs. Two Hours from Everywhere came from his numerous conversations with friends, where they would ask where his hometown of Galax was located. He would always reply that it was pretty much two hours from everywhere, hence the song. He ended his set with When the Flag’s at Half-mast, a solemn tribute to those who have been memorialized in such a manner.
Joanie then took the stage on keyboards and delivered several blues/jazz numbers with her very smooth, mellow voice. She opened her set with a love-lost heartbreaking Foolish, followed by her signature song Love You Still. Pardon Me and You Broke My Heart Real Slow followed, bringing more lament of love lost. The backing tracks of bass, drums and cymbals added a really cool vibe to the tunes. She ended her set with Make This Thing Last, saying “I’ll admit I’m a bit of a loner – I’ll admit I can be cold – Like every woman I want a man to hold”. Another fine performance from Ms. Valentine!
Matt Manion capped the night with several of his fine tunes. Devil’s Half-acre brought us the misery and sad history of Lumpkin’s Jail. Lost in Thought reflects on the times when you sort of forgot time/who and where you are, while Life Can be Funky Down on the Pamunkey is a cool, colorful tale of spending time down on the Pamunkey River with all the wonderful scenes of Nature. Song for Speculators is an ode to breaking up with an old girlfriend. Don’t Stand by Me arose from an experience playing a gig at the annual Carytown Watermelon Festival (the trumpet player only dated married women…). Quarter to Midnight is a very thoughtful tune Matt wrote around Christmas/New Year’s about his experience driving through a toll booth late at night, with a sole attendant working. He regrets taking the exact change lane rather than the full service one, where he could have expressed holiday greetings to the worker. Don’t Need to be Perfect is a song relevant to most of us, telling us we need to be satisfied with who/what we are and not be unhappy because we aren’t perfect. Way to go, Matt!