Thursday, August 18th, 2016
VOCAL Showcase August 2016
Hot night, hot music. The longest, continuously running songwriter showcase in Virginia added one more to it’s record with this presentation tonight, at O’Toole’s Bar and Grill. Two great songwriters presented a slate of original tunes for an appreciative audience of VOCAL fans. Up first was guitarist Mark Daniel. in a rare appearance, who thrilled the crowd with a variety of songs in several genres. “My Home Is Where I Lay My Hat” kicked off his set followed by “Trail of Tears” which told the story of those who travelled along Cherokee Road, a route of anguish, for those Native Americans who were uprooted by hostility. “Country Blues” outlined all the things the singer liked about his love, “Complicated” was a Christian themed song about getting through the hardships of life by putting your faith in the Lord. Drought can be a disaster to farmers who desperately need rain to keep their crops alive, This story was the focus of “Charles City Rain”, a tale of prayer that comes true in the end with some much needed rain. Going up-tempo, “Bad Horses, Pretty Women, Free Whiskey” described what bad things can happen to you if you give in to their attractions. Country song “If You Were Free” was a list of what the singer would do if the woman he loved were available. Mark demonstrated his picking ability with the song “I Got High On a Mountain” (in a town called Monterrey) followed by “Loving You, Again” a nostalgic song fueled by pictures and whiskey. Mark closed out his set with “How Far The Moon” comparing his unbounded love to the distances of celestial bodies such as the moon, sun and stars.
After a brief intermission which featured a 50/50 raffle and the sale of VOCAL t-shirts, the program continued with Norman Roscher on guitar, and his lovely daughter Deanna as singing accompaniment. Norman, usually known for his humorous and sometimes nonsensical songs, presented a softer and more sedate side tonight with songs mostly inspired by real life incidents. Starting off with “I Don’t Play Doctor Anymore” the singer puts aside his boyish toys and comes to grip with adulthood. Travelling through Hollywood cemetery, Norman is struck by a statue of a woman holding a bouquet of poppies, thus he is inspired to write Lady Of The Poppies” a ballad that wonders about the significance of this statue to reality. Reminiscing about his youth, the song “Prince of The Tree” talks of the wonders one sees when high up above the mundane world, “Dog’s New Clothes” describes the experience of seeing a stroller on Monument Ave. in casual dress, walking a dog with upscale clothing and wondering why the dog looks better than his handler. Demonstrating his softer side, Norman presented “Mister Sleepyhead” a lullaby for kids. Switching to keyboard and next in his set list was “Baby, Bye, Bye” an up-tempo song about breaking up, which was enhanced by his daughter’s vocal contributions. In “Roaming Eye” we got a song about, well, nothing, but still entertaining. In a sentimental mood. “Pictures of Irene” presented a touching portrait of a friend’s deceased mother who greatly influenced his life as a young lad. “I’m Gonna Take My Baby Dancing” , written by VOCAL member Bill Wellons, was a rouser that lifted the spirits of the audience, followed by an audience participation song “Bip Bop On The Top” encouraging them to pat their heads on the chorus, Influenced by Deanna perhaps, :My Little Girl” was a tribute to
his daughter. Of course, Norman couldn’t go the whole night without doing one of his outre numbers, so for an encore, he presented “Mister Johnson’s Sticky Substance” which describes gooey human deposits made in stolen ladys’ shoes by a deranged individual. “What were you thinking, Mister Johnson?”
Thus ended the showcase.