Monday, July 25th, 2016
The July 2016 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase took place on Monday, July 18th at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. On this night, VOCAL celebrated its 25th anniversary, and its 300th consecutive monthly showcase! A large, enthusiastic audience of original music lovers came out to see a wide variety of VOCAL’s songwriting talent.
Gary Shaver kicked off the show, which he dedicated to our group’s founder, Cham Laughlin. Gary then proceeded to entertain the crowd on keyboard with one of his signature songs, Between Her and Me, and featured the talented violinist Larry Lyles on accompaniment.
Steve Nuckolls then performed When the Flag’s at Half-mast, followed by Something About Your Love.
Larry Cody, another long-time VOCAL member, then delivered Without a Doubt and Now I Know to a very receptive crowd.
Glenda Creamer sang a very captivating song from a musical she wrote recently, It’s a Long Walk to Jerusalem. She followed that with a very touching song she co-wrote with Glen King, In My Father’s House. Kudos to co-writing!
Another long-time member, Gerry Laverty, then held the audience with two of his fine tunes, Blues in the Night, and this reviewer’s favorite, Zion Crossroads. It’s always great to see the travelling troubadour grace our stage!
Melodie Lael debuted as a performing songwriter with Thinking of You, a love song about a former boyfriend she just can’t get out of her mind. Thinking about him throughout the day, wondering if he ever thinks of her. It’s mighty awesome to see folks muster up the strength/bravery to take the stage for the first time (been there – done that!). It helps knowing you are among friends/like-minded individuals. Congrats, Melodie!!
Guy Gorman then took the stage with his very appropriate song I’m going to Celebrate, followed by another timely song I Just Had to Have Some Music in my Life. He accompanied himself on harmonica, adding a very pleasant texture to his music. There’s just something about Guy’s songs that commands (and receives) vocal participation from the audience. Mighty fine stellar harmonies!
Glen King also debuted as a performing songwriter. Although he’s been writing for many years, it was the first time we’ve seen in action on our stage. A welcome treat, indeed! Kudos to Glen for the courage in doing this. He delivered a lovely song I’ve Just Got to Live for Something, which shares one of my favorite themes of “everybody needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning”. Congrats, Glen!
Matt Manion, accompanied by Gary Shaver on sax, brought us two really cool and intriguing songs, Funky Down on the Pamunkey, and Don’t Stand by Me. We’d all love to share his experience being on the Pamunkey River, but not so sure about playing a gig in Carytown at the Watermelon Festival with a “risk factor” musician by his side.
Another long-time member, Doug Patrick, introduced a new song, Leave it Like We Found it, a very fitting, somber story about today’s world – cover our footprints, leave no trace. He left us with his signature tune, Molly, an ode to a civil war soldier dying on the battlefield.
Pam McCarthy brought her ever-present grace and stellar vocals with Calling for You, and a new song Now You Know. Welcome back, Pam!
Dick Upton sang Smokey Hot Blues, something you could have heard in a Tiki bar in Key West, where he got the idea. He then performed I Found it in You, a collaboration with Glen King, featuring Gary Shaver on sax. I thought Randy Newman was in the room for a minute!
President Matthew Costello performed Everything but Love Was a Waste of Time, a co-written song from a poem a friend of his, John Hartman, had written. He followed that with his signature tune Digging for Elvis. Yes, there was definitely some audience participation on that number!
Norman Roscher, accompanied by his IPA, delivered a new song very special to the ears of fellow Richmonders. Mr. Johnson’s Sticky Substance recounted the story of a “criminal shoe abductor” who made the news a couple of years ago after being caught stealing women’s shoes from porches and returning them with a “sticky substance” in them. That way too much information! If anyone in the world can do justice to a story like this in a song, it’s Norman. Way to go, dude! He finished the night with Boobs, which required (and secured) enthusiastic audience participation.
Congrats to VOCAL for this milestone of 25 years, and the 300th showcase. Looking forward to many more!