July 2018 VOCAL Showcase
Tonight’s VOCAL songwriters showcase featured three performers with totally different styles of music.
First up was newcomer Jim Puckett, with guitar and harmonica, and a hard playing Appalachian style, Started off with his first tune, “What Went Wrong”, a chronicle of the singer’s miseries, with lines such as “Nobody to talk to”, “My money’s all gone” etc. to support the title. “Doesn’t the Rain Still Fall” was followed by “Riverside”. a sad tale of a backwoods romance which was followed by “Lenten Roses” a story of love lost and a hope for it’s return. Next song was “Shaky Leg” in which the singer was trying to runaway from his past, and having a hard time at it. Jim’s final tune in his set was “Stand In the James” which hit home with the audience, due to it’s local proximity of the James River. The message here was that the James offers a way to relieve one’s self of the stress that plagues us every day and the rush of the water is a healing balm.
Shifting gears, and instruments, Keely Burn, a talented young lady, set up her keyboard and began her pop influenced set. “Waltz” first out of the box, was the singer’s personal statement on love which seemed to imply cautiousness and contemplation. She continued on her philosophical bent with “When I’m Acting” in which she sung about how much better she is appreciated when she putting on a character that appeals to the singee, which is less reactive and more passive. “Sky Song” had an interesting chord sequence which was reminiscent of a 10CC song, That was followed by “The Spirit In Me” aptly played on the organ setting to give a churchy ambience to the song, Keely closed out her set with “The Illusive Rhythm” an interesting conversation imagined between the Great Gatsby and his love Daisy. as was noted by many in the audience, Keely has become a performer to be reckoned with, creating interesting piano melodies and pithy lyrics.
Last up for the night was Andrew Rohlk, who has appeared at a VOCAL showcase a time or two in the past, but not in awhile. Contrasting with the previous two performers, in style, he plays electric guitar with a vengeance, and a huge dose of funk and soul. He kicked it off with “Take For Granted” which had the singer sort of caught between being able to read his musical object like “an open book” yet trying to convince her of his sincerity, even though she thought he was taking her for granted. “Fine” a tale of not to worry, everything will work out, was punctuated with Andrew’s soul shouting, which also appeared in some of his next material. “Time To Spend” was a message of patience, with lines like “I’d like to get to know you” and “take it slow”, accented musically by a lot of funky guitar riffs. Next song “For What It’s Worth” was described as a breakup song, and indeed, included the line “I’m fine being single”. Using his pedal effects, Andrew went for the wawa sound, so common in past r and b material, on “Lost and Found” and then shifted to a latin beat with “Pique” or “Peak”, which posed the question “where do we go from here”. Creating a singalong, he continued with “Heads or Tails” with the chorus “we were never meant to be why can’t you see” which engaged the audience. His high energy performance called for an encore, and Andrew obliged with the song “Through the Fear”. Hs performance definitely was different for a VOCAL showcase where country and pop reign supreme most nights.