All posts by snuckolls

July 2019 VOCAL Songwriters Showcase

The July 2019 VOCAL Showcase took place on Monday, July 15, 2019 at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. Quite a few loyal original music lovers appeared for the performance.
Roger Lee Fink, a relatively new VOCAL member, kicked off the show with several of his intriguing tunes, many of which are Spanish/Flamenco-influenced. His ‘30’s era Epiphone archtop certainly added to the character of his performance! Spanish Leather Irish Lace had a really cool minor-chord Tango vibe that drew us in. He even cleverly worked in the words “Transcendental Meditation” in his rhyme scheme. False Start had a rock/funk feel, telling us that sometimes you just have to start all over again in life! I Gave My Heart recounts a love like a hurricane, just waiting for the storm to pass. He then delivered the bluesy Feet in The Stirrups (your eyes could hypnotize, tell me what to do). If Times Don’t Get No Better echoes the plight of many people today, just barely scaping by in life. The Spanish-flavored No Return longs for a moonlight walk on the beach instead of staying inside this boring house. Lost Valentine was another soothing Spanish/Flamenco-feeling tune, while Looking for A Foot to Fit the Shoe was a John Prine-ish number about feeling about as low as my shoes. I should be through with all these dues I’ve paid – I’m looking for a foot to fit the shoe! He then delivered Don’t Spoil the Show, followed by Love Is Just So Magical (I only get to see her once a week – wish I could go back to that house we used to live in). Rainbow Over Waterfall was sort of Tango-ish that was channeling Emerson, Lake and Palmer in my ears – love will be the death of me! Roger closed out his set with Can’t Win For Losin‘, another fusion rock/funk talking about the risky business of cruising in the fast lane.

Longtime member Matt Manion then took the stage with several of his familiar tunes along with some new ones. Don’t Stand by Me says if you’re the trumpet player who only dates married women, don’t even think of being next to me! Sit Down for Standby recounts the woes of being delayed in the Heathrow airport, and longing to get back to the good old USA. Life Can be Funky Down on the Pamunkey is a really cool, colorful song about all the natural beauty/wildlife along the Pamunkey River. It Didn’t Really Matter had a Don McLean feel, describing a reunion where folks were mustering up the courage to get onto the dance floor. No No No can’t believe the hassles we’ve been through, and even though I was lonely and desperate for company in the past, I have to tell him “no” today. Sometimes I Feel Like the Last Man on Earth is a quite complicated (but intriguing) wordy/chordy tune which was channeling David Bowie to me. After recently seeing Weird Al Yankovich, Matt decided to put his personal spin on a couple of standards. Moon River became June Cleaver, and Yesterday was transformed into Scrambled Eggs, supposedly the placeholder lyrics Paul used when originally writing the song. Cool vibe, Matt! Now I want to hear the June meat “Cleaver” Halloween song! Necessary Trouble/Good Trouble is a call to action to get out, stand up, and have your voice heard! I Don’t Need to be Perfect is a positive message about being satisfied with who you are, and not pretending to be something more. Matt demonstrated some mighty fine falsetto in this tune. After trying to leave the stage, the audience begged for me, so he brought out the first song he ever wrote back in the 70’s dealing with living a life of solitude. I was almost hearing some Jethro Tull combined with CSN&Y. Great job, Matt!

Another very fine evening indeed for original music lovers!

April 2019 VOCAL Showcase

The April 2019 VOCAL Showcase took place on Monday, April 15, 2019 at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. This event served as the 2nd quarter open-mic, but only our loyal members appeared for the performance.

Norm Roscher

Our master of ceremonies, Norman Roscher, kicked off the evening on keyboards with three of his fine tunes. Gonna Take My Baby Dancing is a really cool fun song written by fellow member Bill Wellons. She says we never go out anymore, and even though I’m no Fred Astaire, I’ll do it my best to show her a good time! When I See Your Face is a lovely tender love song that simply radiates good vibes and happiness. Norman does a mighty fine job of conveying this uplifting sentiment with this tune. Kazooka (aka The Family song) was played sans kazoo. It’s about a man who is just so happy to have his family that he wants to play the kazoo. He’s gonna have a baby soon, gonna give her a silver spoon.

Jeff Wagner

Jeff Wagner then took the stage with four of his heartfelt songs. Borderline is about someone doing the 9 to 5 deal working for the man while also pursuing his dream of songwriting, almost semi-pro. All of a sudden he’s pushing 30, then 49, then 59. He thinks it may be time to put in another verse for the next decade. I’m Trying to Make You Proud of Me is a story many of us can relate to, where we constantly find ourselves saying and doing things our parents said and did. Try Just a Little More is an ode to the man who feels like he should go the extra mile for his wife, to let her hear the wind and see the shore to feel her heart and soul. Sometimes is a new song in the sad genre, reminiscing about an old flame. We go everywhere from the dance floor to sleeping under the western stars. We can think of the wonderful memories but can never go back!

Matthew Costello

VOCAL President Matthew Costello opened his set with the crowd favorite Digging for Elvis, a song that simply begs for audience participation. Everything But Love Was a Waste of Time was a co-write with the late John Hartman, who wrote the lyrics. Reminiscing of a bitter sweet relationship, I travelled down many roads and have many miles behind me – I may have lied when I said farewell. What Would You do if You Knew is a relatable theme, wondering what would happen if we were able to speak our mind, if we were the ones who made you laugh, etc. He then delivered the clever story A Meaningful One Night Stand, where he’s tired of all the mornings after and urges that get out of hand. Finally, he meets Ivey, who has his baby, so he must give her his name!

Doug Patrick

Doug Patrick then took the stage with four of his finely-crafted songs. Why Don’t You Put Him in the Lineup is a really cool tune about asking the manager to put the kid into the ball game. He doesn’t deserve to just sit on the bench – he can pitch like Brooks Robinson, run the bases like Willie Mays, and hit that tater for a country mile! I Think I Really Done it This Time is a song of regret for spending that one night with the lonely woman. Is that such a terrible crime? One Lone Georgia Pine is my favorite from Doug, and definitely a true song from the heart! His great-great-great grandfather’s cousin went off to the Civil War, was wounded, and then eventually killed in battle. Buried in Georgia, he was returned to his Kentucky home several years later. A seed from a Georgia pine had fallen into his coffin, and sprouted and began to grow in Kentucky, needless to say the only Georgia pine in that state! You can’t make this stuff up – what a cool story. He ended his set with a very timely Leave it Like We Found It, just in time for Earth Day. This is a very fitting story in today’s “environment”, where we need to leave this place better than we found it.

Jim Plunkett

Jim Plunkett ended the show with his fine work accompanied by harmonica. A Story’s All It Is tells us what it would be like if we were living on the fringe, on the other side of the bars. Your dad always told you to stay away from me, but you certainly do look good in orange! Wayward Curse took honorable mention in a recent American Songwriter lyric contest. I could have gotten my way if you hadn’t gotten yours first, would’ve tied the know if it hadn’t come undone. Friend of Mine was a heartfelt number about a guy down on his luck who lost his job and his wife, and was found down by the interstate. Bought a gun for self-defense, but it’s now in a yellow bag for evidence. I Slept In, a true story, is a reminder that sometimes just taking it easy and not getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of life is the better road to take.
Another very fine evening indeed for original music lovers!

VOCAL March 2019 Songwriter Showcase

The March 2019 VOCAL Showcase took place on Monday, March 18, 2019 at O’Toole’s Irish Pub and was a mighty festive event!
VOCAL President Matthew Costello opened the show with several of his signature tunes and others that were somewhat obscure. “You’re All I Ever Need” is being satisfied with that special someone, and “What Would You Do if You Knew” asks what would happen if I were to speak my mind? “A Meaningful One-Night Stand” is a crowd favorite with an interesting plot. “I Wanna Catch a Ride on Her Train of Thought” is another Costello favorite, conjuring up train sights and sounds on the way to finding a loving relationship. This also elicited lots of audience participation with clapping and “woo-ing”. “You and I” is a very tender love ballad, while “Rock and Roll” is a rocking Chuck Berry-ish number. He then performed the uplifting and optimistic “Faith Will Find the Way”, leaving us with a feel-good message. Matthew finished his set with the quintessential “Digging for Elvis”, his most defining song, which was accompanied by enthusiastic audience vocal harmony!
Norman Roscher and The Clackwells then took the stage with both boisterous and tender numbers. “You and Me Baby” is a very lively number and crowd pleaser that included a full rhythm section and washboard. “Did I Hear You Say” was a very tender song written by Glen Habl, which they performed in Dog’s New Clothes (blue sky and sunshine with you all day). “Sweet Nectar” is the story about growing not herbivores, but certain “herbs” in your fields. They grow so tall and green! “The Train” was another tune written by Glen Habl that took us down by the banks where the river flows, followed by “Down by the Railroad Tracks”. You don’t dare go down there ‘cause that’s where the monster lives! Gary Shaver accompanied them on sax on that number, as well as on “I Don’t Play Doctor Any More”, a signature Norman tune. “Roaming Eye” also featured Gary on sax, followed by a high-energy “Someone’s Drooling Somewhere”. The crowd-pleaser “I Live in my Hat” followed, which had the crowd rocking. “If I Ever Get to Heaven” is a poignant number asking if “being only me” will guarantee a ticket to eternity with my friends. “You’re Beautiful” involved willing crowd participation with the “Bip bob over the top baby you’re beautiful” chorus. “I’m a Fool” is an ode to living a simple life, wondering why I chose this road in my life. “Within Your Eyes” followed, describing how he saw the light in her eyes. “You Got It” is another high-energy tune featuring the great Gary Shaver on sax – you got it, you know it, you love it! “The Clackwell’s Theme Song” then followed, which I had never heard before, identifying the unique names of the clan. The group ended with “Boobs”, the ultimate song of Norman’s that brought out the best harmonies from the audience. Way to go, Clackwells!

December 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase

The December 2018 VOCAL Showcase took place on Monday, December 17, 2018 at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. It was a very festive evening with quite a large turnout.

John Ellis opened the show with a holiday-themed “Me and My Baby on a Cold Winter Day”, a bluesy number advising us on how to stay warm on a cold winter day. “I’ll Be There for You” is a testament to dedication and loyalty to your loved one, while “You Put Me in My Place” shows the opposite perspective of a relationship.

Matt Manion then took the stage with a wonderful holiday poem he wrote when the power went out. He was prepared to write a Christmas song, but the “unplugged” poem is what emerged. He then delivered a rocking “Thank You Chuck Berry”, sparked from a John Lennon quote. If rock-and-roll had another name, it would be Chuck Berry!

The one-and-only VOCAL stalwart Don Pinkleton then pinkled our fancy with a really cool song “I Wanna Be Somewhere it Snows”, a unique story angle of a working musician somewhere out west in the Baja desert. With Christmas lights on the cactus, it’s hard to really get into the Christmas spirit. A fine treat indeed to see Don back on the stage with such a fine song. He then delivered a darker holiday tune “Mrs. Claus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”. She doesn’t make cookies or treats, and would rather hang out in her condo in Redondo than spend time with Santa at the North Pole.

Jeff Wagner then treated us to some talented writing with “I Knew You’d Never Come Back Home”, a not so “home for the holidays” theme, but probably one that some folks can relate to. The Christmas lights are gone, I took the wreath off the door, and threw the candles on the floor. Here’s a lump of coal hurled in your direction on this Christmas day! He then delivered a really cool song “Snow Drift”, about a cowboy spending Christmas Eve in a lion camp in the Rockies. It’s a lonely gig and not for everyone – they found him the next morning in a snow drift, with an empty whisky bottle frozen on his lips. “Christmas in 1963” brought back memories many of us can relate to, including train sets and an orange in your stocking. I can remember prying out the orange to get to the pecans and walnuts buried underneath!

Relative newcomer Jim Puckett then took the stage with “Beautiful Christmas”, a Thanksgiving wishbone-pulled dream of spending Christmas with a lover amidst the fresh snowfall. Hopefully it was a dream come true! He then brought out some stellar guitar licks on the bluesy “It Won’t be Christmas Again Until You’ve Got Me Wrapped up in Your Loving Arms” – I can taste your Christmas lips on mine! “It Doesn’t Have to be Christmas” is a very profound number that we can all take away, that it doesn’t have to be Christmas in order to be nice, polite, kind, generous, etc. What an inspirational message!

The very talented duo Carey Colvin and Granger Helvey returned to the showcase with several numbers, including several holiday tunes. “The Christmas Elf” was a take on the Elf-on-a-Shelf, and you better keep an eye on him, as he definitely has one on you! “It’s Christmas Time” brought out all the preparations for Christmas, with holly, cookies, gifts, etc. “Ten Thousand Arrows” isn’t a holiday song, but is very interesting and well-delivered, a signature song of theirs. They then led the group in a singalong of The Monkees “Then I saw Her Face”, followed by several Christmas carols, such as “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”, “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”, and “Jingle Bells”. It’s always great to be Christmas-treated by Carey and Granger!

A great time was had by all in this holiday showcase!

October 2018 VOCAL Songwriters Showcase

VOCAL October 2018 Songwriter Showcase Review
The October 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase took place on Monday, October 15th at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. Attendance was a bit light, but very attentive.
Steve Nuckolls opened the show with a few of his songs rooted in his experiences either growing up in the country/small town or in his historic Richmond neighborhood. He opened with “Alley Man”, an ode to the folks who wander the alleys in the city always “searching for something”. “At Home on the Backroads” followed, reminiscing about growing up in a small town and cruising the backroads of the rural area. “Something About Your Love” is an upbeat love song where he gets to exercise his falsetto. “Praying for a Rocky Top” is his newest song, bringing back memories of his favorite Rocky Top (beer and wine store) along with hints of the real Rocky Top, Tennessee. He then delivered “Two Hours from Everywhere”, describing the experience of living in a town that’s two hours from any large city, so obtaining things such as diamonds, furs, etc. are very difficult. He ended with “Lines of Love”, a love song about dedication and faith to your partner.

Headliner Markiss Blowfish (aka Mark Branch) then took the stage, delivering several blues numbers as only he can do. We were all onboard as he opened with “Engine # 9”, taking us from Jacksonville to New Orleans. He’d gambled way too much on his woman, so now he’s heading home. The percussiveness of his guitar-playing even sounded like a train. “Mama Don’t Worry Me” is another blues number, telling that woman to leave me alone! You’ve got that mink coat, diamond rings and a new house, so what more do you want? “Country Boys” is a bit of country and a little bit of blues, talking about how country boys hang out in the fresh air and green grass, but don’t play with Barbie Dolls, GI Joes, and Tonka Trucks. They saddle up the horse and buggy and get their fishing on when they can. “Bad News” is just that – nothing good to report through these words. Daddy’s in the chicken coop, my nephew is a lazy boy who can’t pay the rent. “Betty Lou” was a special girl who did him right – she’s his kind of girl. Came up from Tennessee, and really burned up that mini-skirt! I loved the Hokey-Pokey reference in the song – you put the left foot in… “She Keeps Calling Me” is another “leave me alone” number, as all this woman does is call and text my phone and wag her tongue, seven days a week. “I Work All Night Long” describes the never-ending hard life of a hard worker. I work all night long, work my fingers to the bone, there’ll be no rest for me until I’m dead and gone. He ended with another train song, “9:45 Train”. The train’s pulling out, so get your kisses on and say goodbye. Won’t be coming back no more. A mighty fine delivery from the blues master Mark!

August 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase

The August 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase took place on Monday, August 20th before a spirited audience at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. Gerry Laverty kicked off the show, with Mark Daniel spontaneously filling in for Steve Righter, who was unable to attend.

Gerry Laverty started off with some of his newer tunes, tales of a rambler from a Northwest county in Ireland heading off to war, where battle can lead you to fortune and fame. Sweet Destiny followed, telling of riding the ancient buffalo trails, asking how many long nights have pierced this rugged heart, and how many nights have I spent chasing the stars? He followed up with Fare Thee Well to this Old Troubled Life, then took us down to Mexico with a cool-sounding story about his pursuit of an enigmatic Mexican Queen. Looking out over the rooftops of the old border town, she stands out like a diamond – la la la… And the Federales are always in the distance. Gerry then brought on the blues, accompanied by a lightning bug on stage, with Blues in the Night (no where to go to hide from the blues, no train to catch, no itch to scratch). A beautifully finger-picked I Am a House was played by request, an ode to a living structure (I am a house twelve months of the year, I don’t take vacations). This is definitely one of Gerry’s signature tunes! Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem calls for calm in this city after centuries of fighting. The harmonica-driven Your Lonesome Blue Eyes was written while traveling through Montana, and is always a crowd favorite. Another request was Zion Crossroads, referring to the intersection of routes 15 and 250 in Fluvanna County. Gerry closed out his set with yet another request, Paris. This is a very beautiful and delicate finger-picked tune about the beauty of Paris.

Mark Daniel then took the stage with several of his unique tunes. From the Inside Out asks her to just give him a chance, meet him in the middle, and don’t judge him from the outside. How Can This be Over if We Haven’t Even Started Yet asks why you keep sitting me down easy, then pushing me away. I don’t want to lose you, so I’ll just keep you in my song. Big Daddy is a blistering, cultish dropped-D tuned rocking song about a trucker trying his best to get himself home. Wherever Your Love Leads Me is a beautiful, tender love song, where love at first sight left him speechless. Loving You Makes Me Groove is a really fun, feel-good song, conjuring up the feelings you get while watching someone you admire. I’m a Rich Man tells the story of picking up a hitchhiker who imparts wisdom known to few (life’s about the little things the Lord sends your way, eagles in flight, and the treasures in Heaven when the stars come out at night). Feeling is Believing debunks the theory that the words “I love you” are just a sign of weakness (I hope you feel it too, and please forgive me for the clumsy things I do). Mark closed out the evening with a cool bluesy tune I’m On a Love Mission (don’t blame me for the dumb shit he did for you!)

This was a very special evening featuring two of VOCAL’s most talented writers!

June 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase

The June 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase took place on Monday, June 18th at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. This was a really special night with a collaboration between Doug Patrick and Dick Upton. They backed each other up on every song, and also had some stellar guest performers. Tim Morley and Gary Shaver joined them on harmonica and sax/clarinet, respectively, which added a very special element to their songs.

Dick opened up on his keyboards with Going Down to Georgia, a nice bluesy tune taking us down the road to the peach state. Doug then followed with a new song Make it Work, telling us you just have to do what you have to do to “get it done”! Full Time Love is another Doug tune saying I want to be front and center, not a back-seat love. Dick then brought on Distant Friend, an ode to an old friend who was fighting cancer, and who sparked his desire to resume his songwriting. Gary Shaver then joined the stage with saxophone in hand to add some wonderful flavor to the next tune. Dick delivered Put Down the Bottle, asking for help from above in getting through each day. Doug then played his signature tune New Orleans Night, with Gary accompanying on clarinet – thought I was in Dixieland for a moment! Doug then brought us River Town, his tribute to RVA and the wonderful things it has to offer. Dick sang Have you Ever Had the Blues as only he can. He started writing the song 40 years ago, and only finished it six months ago. My Spiritual Home is another really cool, tropical song from Dick about an experience playing a bar in the Florida Keys. Secretariat is a memorable tune from Doug that all horse loves can enjoy, a major source of pride for Caroline County in Virginia. He then delivered Set it Free, letting us know that we are better off than we think we are. Dick then delivered a couple of muse-inspired tunes Why I Do What I Do and Where Everybody Knows My Name. We are all influenced by our musical friends/surroundings, so it’s great to hear songs about that relationship. He was joined by Tim on harmonica and Gary on sax on these numbers. Doug has a very tender song about his grandchild, I’ll Hold You as Long as I Can, teaching lessons of love, patience, and guidance. He then delivered Leave it as you Found it, a moving number about taking care of Mother Earth. Dick ended the show with a new song, You’ll Always Drive me Crazy, featuring Gary again on sax.

This was a very special evening of musical collaboration and was enjoyed by all!

April 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase

The April 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase took place on Monday, April 16th at O’Toole’s Irish Pub.

Steve Nuckolls opened the show with his new “technology running my life” song Siri Alexa-fied Blues, an ode to self-driving cars, smart homes, artificial intelligence, etc. His song Countryversy contrasts the various types of backroads, country folks out there. He then played Everything’s Just Two Good, the title track of his new EP. He also played Something About Your Love, Sunrise, and Simunye, his tribute to the Zulu people in South Africa.

Headliner Glenda Creamer then took the stage. She played her entire musical she recently wrote on the life of Jesus. She started with a song about Christmas and the birth of Christ, with stories about Joseph, Mary and the Magi. She then moved on to a twelve-year-old Jesus with It’s a Long Walk to Jerusalem. The Wilderness song was about Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist. Wherever You Go is a very beautiful, tender wedding song about one’s steadfast commitment to their partner. That was followed by the Wine song, describing the reception that followed. Follow Me is another beautiful song about Jesus asking the disciples to trust and follow him. Another tune followed based on a parable, asking “wandering child, where did you go? How far did you run? You left behind hearts that love you”. Lazarus describes the story of Jesus waking Lazarus from the dead, and Glenda certainly woke up anyone in the audience who may have been sleeping at the end of the song! She then delivered Zekias, a story about the tax collector, who changes his ways and begins giving half of his possessions to the poor. After riding on the donkey to the children’s delight in Hosanna, the stories around Holy Week unfolded, with the washing of the feet, blessing the bread, and being nailed to the cross. Glenda then sang a lullaby like Mary sang to Jesus’ dead body, followed by Rise Up, Jesus is here to stay!

That was the end of another wonder showcase of original music!

February 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase

The February 2018 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase took place on Monday, February 19th at O’Toole’s Irish Pub with a quite attentive crowd.

Norman Roscher opened the show with one of his classics and self-inspired Prince of the Trees, a dreamy number that many of us can relate to from our childhoods. The world might be a better place if more of us spent time in the trees! He then entertained us with his newest creation Hyperplastic Polyp. Now this isn’t just your ordinary love song you hear every day (maybe a glove song?). Being a Polyp Farmer allows you to cultivate little clones of yourself. Lost in a Dream is a love song written a year or so ago and was inspired by his friend Jeannie. Mr. Johnson’s Sticky Substance is a little ditty that many local folks can relate to if they keep up with the local news. Just don’t leave your shoes out on the porch! Lady of the Poppy is a very intriguing tune about a statuary in Hollywood Cemetary. She’s so peaceful – is she asleep? He ended his set with another tender love song, Anniversary Song, written for his love Jeannie. With all those beautiful words, she just had to be his man!

John Ellis opened his set with the instrumental A Time Piece. John demonstrates some very delicate finger-picking on his acoustic/electric with this number. He then delivered a new song, Walking With Sharon, another delicate instrumental that had a bit of Spanish classical influence. I’ll Be There for You is a song of resolve, about being there for someone you love (something we need more of). I’m Through is an ode to love lost, a good riddance/Hell-with-you tune. The Last You Could Have Done was to Call, is another love-gone-wrong song, describing the feeling when you hear your partner was seen with someone else. Brother is a minor-key electrified song saying “does she love you like she should”, or are you just hearing the siren’s song? In My Place is another anti-love song, where we had a chance at love until you threw it all away.

Headliner Mark Daniel then took the stage treating us to several of his finely-honed tunes. Big Daddy’s Ride featured some blistering finger-picking on this tune about an over-the-road trucker, and his experiences out and back to his home in Kentucky. I’m Just a Soldier Calling Home is a very moving story about his daughter, a combat photographer in the Marine Corps, and the unique perspective she has in the line of duty. The bluesy I’m On a Love Mission states how he’s trying to win your love, so don’t blame him for what a previous lover did. “Was it the whiskey talking”, the first line of How Can We be Over if We Haven’t Started Yet, may divulge the truth to this mystery – how can it all be over when things appear to be going so well? Mark delivered a mighty fine western swing tune Who’s Sad and Lonely Now. Was there a misunderstanding about how I wear my hat? A new song, You’re the One for Me”, was inspired by one of his daughters and talks of “spoken words I can’t unsay”, “feelings I can’t unfeel”. His next song was written post-breakup, and about trying to get dates – may have been some Facebook involved! What Do You Think of a Man Who Does Dishes includes a man with strong hands and a warm heart, not afraid to do his part. Another love song was revealed: Wherever Your Love Leads Me, ofte”n song by VOCAL member Eddy Kitchen: “Thought I was fishing in Heaven, casting in the Milky Way. Loving You Really Makes Me Groove is another love ditty about loving watching you, and the things you do. Charles City Rain is a cool story from 1939 describing the town suffering from a long drought, and finally getting relief with rains from the Heavens “Lord teach us to pray and send some rain down”. Feeling is Believing is yet another tender love song from Mark, debunking the theory that saying the words “I Love You” is a sign of weakness. Captain is a really cool tune written about his great-grandfather, who never came home from the Civil War. He left home on a sunny day, leaving Mom and a team to plow the land.

That was the end of another wonder showcase of original music!

September 2017 VOCAL Songwriters Showcase

The September 2017 VOCAL Songwriter Showcase took place on Monday, September 18th at O’Toole’s Irish Pub.

Steve Nuckolls opened the show with several acoustic numbers. Everything’s Just Two Good, Gibson Guitar, and Sunrise are some of his signature tunes. He had a new song Siri Alexa-fied Blues, an ode to the current technologies running a lot of people’s lives. Grayson Lady is a bluegrass tune about Grayson County in Southwest Virginia.

John Ellis took the stage as the headline performer, well-equipped with his electric and acoustic/electric guitars, pedals and backing tracks. He opened with Blues # 1, an instrumental that reminded me a bit of the rock band Focus (Hocus Pocus). The instrumental A Time Piece was played on this acoustic/electric, and I thought channeled George Harrison during certain parts. I’ll Be There for You is an optimistic love song, which John admits he doesn’t do too often. Honesty is on the opposite end of the love spectrum, an in-your-face tribute to a relationship gone bad. The Strange is an older “dark love song”, the first song he finished after joining VOCAL. This had hints of Black Sabbath with some searing lead guitar solos. The next tune was an instrumental “combo” of Chimes and Groove Thing, a juxtaposition of tender guitar picking and blistering electric guitar. In My Place is another love-gone-bad song with some stellar electric guitar performance. That was the end of a very rewarding performance from Mr. Ellis.