Saturday, November 26th, 2016
The November 2016 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase took place on Monday, November 21st at O’Toole’s Irish Pub.
The ever-talented Claudia Carawan opened the show on keyboards and backing tracks. The first few songs she performed were co-written with a fellow song-camp attendee, a brave endeavor. Everything’s A Song was a cool jazzy menagerie of classic song titles As Time Goes By, My Foolish Heart, My Funny Valentine, etc. What a great idea! She then had us gathered Around My Kitchen Table, reminiscent of the many great times sitting at the big oak table. Special Request was asking the hubby to be a little more considerate around the house. She then turned us onto the holiday season with some tunes from her new Christmas cd. Magic in the Air was everything Christmas, while On a Moonlight Winter Night was a jazzy big-band sound you could hear Tony Bennett singing. Be the Light was fitting for the season, stressing that what is in our heart is the most important thing this time of year. Christmas in the Islands, co-written with Harold Payne, has a very catchy reggae beat that pulls you right in – coconuts on the Christmas trees, a perfect 85 degrees!
Dick Upton then took the stage, accompanied by electric guitar wiz Mirek Formacek. They delivered several high-energy and bluesy numbers. They opened with Treadmill, an ode to the fact that life is short, so you must make the best of it. Put Down the Bottle calls for help from above in getting you out of a rut, while Distant Friend fondly remembers a musician friend from the past who is in his last days. Where Everybody Knows My Name was written in honor of VOCAL and O’Toole’s, celebrating the camaraderie of fellow songwriters. Dick switched to keyboards for a Mississippi-ish tune On the Levee. I could picture myself there watching the driftwood floating by! My Spiritual Home is a signature song of Dick’s from when he was in Marathon, FL closing down a Tiki bar. He then delivered Something to Believe in, a beautiful, heartfelt song co-written with Glen King. He ended the show with a moving, boogie-woogie like number Going Down to Georgia, featuring Gary Shaver on sax. A magical trio, indeed!