Wednesday, November 18th, 2015
The November 2015 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase attracted a fairly large audience of original music lovers, and featured three of VOCAL’s finest writers: Guy Gorman, Matthew Costello, and Claudia Carawan.
Guy opened the show accompanied by acoustic guitar and harmonica. He embodied the melding of Carl Perkins, Marty Robbins, and Riders in the Sky with his rock and roll, western, and yodeling styles. His Fall Song brought us the various sights, sounds and smells of the season. Bicycle Bell is a Guy favorite recounting the fun and satisfaction of riding around the town on your bike and announcing your presence with the bell. Denny’s Place was the setting for Wishful Drinking, and trying to decide if you’d rather forget her or have her there. Roswell Rock and Roll brought us the story of Chuck Berry-ish alien music and UFO dancing, while You Want Love is an uplifting callout of the power of love. God’s Got It reveals that all the answers lie in the teachings of Jesus. The harmonica-spiced I Oughta Know Better was a Carl Perkins-style rock tune, followed by some fine yodeling in Home is Right Here with Me. Let’s Rock and Roll was followed by the set-ending Lying Awake.
It was great to see Matthew back on the stage behind the keys and playing guitar. He opened with the pleasing keyboard instrumental Warm Rainy Night, then moved to a crowd favorite Subway to Brooklyn. Yes, we all love the “thipp” section of the song describing the needle protesting the end of the record! Little Bird was a dreamy guitar tune where we wish we could fly away with the freedom of a bird. If You Knew describes the secret admiration of another which many of us can relate to. Burning Down the Road is an Abbott and Costello tune, co-written with Derek Abbott. This was a hard-driving acoustic number (“the devil is my anchor, but the Lord will set my sail”). Everything But Love was a poignant number written as a poem by friend John Hartmann. Digging on Elvis is Matthew’s signature song that demanded audience participation in the highly descriptive lyrics.
Claudia brought an explosion of musical energy to the room with her positive, uplifting songs, accompanied by her backing tracks. She opened on keyboards with You Threw Me a Lifeline, then moved to guitar with Yellow Brick Road (“life’s an amazing journey – every day is a yellow brick road”). I Will Carry Enough Love for Two is a beautiful, heartfelt song about supporting her father’s battle with Alzheimer’s. Christmas in the Islands is a really fun Reggae tune that had the crowd moving. Hard to imagine the Christmas spirit at 85 degrees! Cardinal in the Snow is another touching song about spotting the bird in the middle of winter, a sign of a “visiting” loved one who has passed on. Claudia ended the night with Shine, another Reggae call to shine your light for peace and freedom. This is much-needed message in this day and time!