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March 2020 VOCAL Songwriters Showcase

The March 2020 VOCAL Showcase took place on Monday, March 9, 2020 at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. The showcase had a Spring theme, so performers were asked to perform at least one song with that in mind.

Joan Smith opened the show with Emergence, a Spring-like love song calling for the awakening of her heart. She followed with Pot of Gold, a search for something more in life, possibly even leading to a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow! The Yes Man is a unique a cappella doo-wop style song, giving it back to the man dangling too-good-to-be-true offers in front of you. Let’s see your credit score and I’ll see what I can do!

Gary Luong, who’s only been writing for a year or so, opened with a really cool heartbreak song, You’re the One Who Taught Me Guitar. His next room-quietening tune was a very delicate Ed Sheerin-ish number, recounting the advice from his father (I’ve Got to Give Back My Love to You). He enlisted the grooving help of a looping machine for his last tune, saying we’re still young and have plenty of time to live out our lives together.

Bill Kaffenberger returned to the VOCAL stage with three of his offerings. Early Spring was written by his friend and local RVA songwriter Steve Antonacci, who recently passed away. This is a really touching song about the promises Spring will bring, and Bill plans to play this at Steve’s upcoming memorial service. She’s So Real describes the girl with a heart a million miles high, and a smile a million miles wide. If only he could get near her to tell her! What am I Doing Here has him sitting on his hands, with no one listening to what he has to say. Things have never been good to him, and probably never will be. You may never strike a chord anywhere near fame, but you can’t give up or you’ll lose the game.

Jim Puckett then took the stage with The Sunshine Knows Your Name, where the warm Spring sun trumps all the bitterness that Winter can throw at you. Lenten Roses delivers on the promise of Spring, with the beauty of the blooming flowers, showing the fruit of your labors. Doesn’t the Rain Still Fall had some really cool images of the sun always shining, the wind sneaking down the mountain, babies always crying, etc.

Long-time member Karen Trump graced the stage after quite a long absence. It was great to hear her stellar roots/folk/blues offerings. God’s Redeeming Grace was reminiscent of the Carter Family, a Spring-ish number about falling in love when the flowers are in bloom. Silver-Tongued Devil was a delightfully dark number about succumbing to temptation. No Spring Chicken is something most of us can relate to. While we’re still quite able in a lot of areas, there’s certainly nothing wrong with hitting the sack at 9:30! Welcome back, Karen!

Martin McNeil brought us some fine British muse with Back in Your Arms Again, asking for his lover to hold and soothe him. Give Myself Up to the Night was a poignant number, crying all the tears at the station, and hitting the road on the 8:39 train. He ended with In My Breakdown, receiving an arrow through the heart from his former lover.

Norman Roscher ended the evening of original music as only he can do. My Bitch Lad was a very irreverent (but tender and loving) tune about a young lad walking through the woods when he was “taken in” by a woman for her personal needs. So was there a loser in this transaction? He then delivered a tune written by fellow “Vocal-onian” Bill Wellons, Gonna Take My Baby Dancing. This is just a really happy, feel-good song about kicking your feet up on the dance floor! Waiting for The Moon is a signature Norman tune from the Dog’s New Clothes era, and is always a crowd favorite!

feb. 2020 VOCAL Showcase

Feb 2020 VOCAL Showcase
(due to a complete delete of a full review, I am only listing a set list of each performer. Sorry about that.)

Tonight’s performers included two returning songwriters, Jim Puckett and Steve Nuckolls. who was the featured performer.
Jim went first and did six songs.

  1. Runaway Horizon (a travelling song that ook us from east to west and back)
  2. In the Bargain ( it’s hard enough to love yourself musch less lose the one your love)
  3. On Your Mind ( you can forget me, i’m in your mind)
  4. Last of the Lonely Girls ( he ends up the last of the llonely men when all the girls are gone)
  5. Opalena ( a mountain doula who delivers many babies but has no surviving choldren of her own)
  6. Song of Love ( a song strangely enough, about love)

Steve Nuckolls followed with a 13 song set including the following:

  1. Making My Getaway (doing what it takes to supress one’s pride)
  2. Sitting In With Emmy Lou ( a Saturday session to sing along with Emmy Lou Harris)
  3. Sunrise ( equivaling a sunrise with the idea of hope)
  4. Something About Your Love (She is the singer’s answered prayers and a gift from heaven)
  5. The Flag’s At Half Mast (pondering the reasons why the flag is at half mast)
  6. Open Door ( Being thankful for the things on your life that make it what it is)
  7. Everything’s Just Two Good (body parts as a metaphor for loving someone)
  8. The Gibson Guitar ( a surprising place to see a guitar for sale, in a furniture store)
  9. Praying For a Rocky Top ( hoping good old country values still exist)
  10. Lines Of Love (how the words we say reflect on those we love and those that love us)
  11. Higher Bar (describing the sacrifices made by heroes in war and at home)
  12. Sumanye ( An African term for togetherness and pride in unity of a homogenious group)
  13. Two Hours From Everywhere (living in a town that is 2 hours from all the major cities and their offerings)

As seen by the above: there was a wide range of topics and ideas spun together by the two performers , and highly appreciated by the audience at hand.

January 2020 Showcase

January 2020 VOCAL Showcase

Tonight was an open mic showcase which invites any and all to perform their original song material.. The evening was filled with music from a variety of performers from the traditional to the unusual.
Opening the night was host and stalwart member Norman Roescher, on keyboard, who began with a soft ballad “A Simle Man” and and followed up with Waiting For The Moon” a song filled with surrealistic images. Next up was Steve Smithson, a longtime VOCAL member, who rarely appears at showcases, but came equipped with guitar and songs to perform for us tonight. “Prairie Cowboy” offered a eulogy of sorts for someone who has passed and for himself as he moves on in life, Next was ” Go On” and then he did two songs written by Mark Fitzgerald “January Song” which had vivid pictures of winter, and “Castling” with the audience singalong chorus “Burn My Bones’. Steve Nuckolls came up to the mic next with “Praying For Rocky Top” a tribute song to those small towns in Appalachia who maintain old time standards like offered in the classic “Rocky Top” song. Where The Morning Glories Grow By The Road’ was a touching song (co-written with Glen King) about a relationship with sad overtones. He concluded his set with “Higher Bar” about aspirations we seek in life. Next we had a small interlude of poetry and flute as performed by Joan (formerly Jen) Smith and Roger Fink.
The poem “Story Of Our Lives” recited by Joan, detailed a relationship of disparate people who came together through a commonness of religion. Adding to the unusual, Joan followed up with a beat box accompaniment to a rap performed by Earl Jordan titled “Resurrection Power” which offered praise to Jesus. The duo of Gene (guitar)and Gayla (stand up bass) Mills, came up next and did a set of traditional country type songs, including “Run Away Like Water” about a restless life that was going downhill all the way. Gayla did the vocals on “Blue Runway Lights” and then Gene gave us a picture of “Forks of Buffalo” the small town where he grew up and left, which was thriving then , but when he returned years later, it had fallen on hard times and was virtually non recognizable. Closing the night’s line-up was Jeff Wagner. He opened with “The Devil Claims Your Soul” followed by “Scarecrow” a tale of love falling apart as the scarecrow in the field falls apart through exposure and age. Eventually, he burns it down as he tries to erase the sad memories
that filled his life. Lastly” I’m Still Trying To Make You Proud Of Me” was a song inspired by his father and remembering him and the influences in his life he left on the singer.
A full night of music was enjoyed by all for it’s depth of material and variety of performers.

December 2019 VOCAL Songwriters Showcase

The December 2019 VOCAL Showcase took place on Monday, December 16, 2019 at O’Toole’s Irish Pub. It was a very festive evening with quite a large turnout.

Glenda Creamer opened the show with a beautiful song recounting all the Christmas memories first as a child, then with being married and having a child. Matt Manion then joined her on a Bible story, where Matt sang the part of the angel telling Mary not to be afraid, that she would be bringing the savior into the world. She then delivered her holiday favorite “The Cookie Exchange”, and ode to fighting your diet during the holiday season. Yes, the cookies are everywhere, so the temptation can be very hard to resist!


Matt Manion then took the stage with his popular song “Quarter til Midnight”, recounting his experience on Christmas Eve heading to Midnight Mass. His experience driving through the toll booth and seeing the attendant is very thought-provoking. He then performed “Blue Ridge Mountain Highway”, a cool tune he wrote while on a camping trip. His friend Richard Ruck (sp?) wrote the lyrics on this, and sang with Matt. He then delivered “Necessary Trouble”, with the message that sometimes you just need to stand up and get in the way in order to be heard and effect change.


John Ellis opened his set 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. “You Put Me in My Place” is probably John’s signature “anti-love” song and displayed some blistering guitar work!


Gene and Gayla Mills performed a really pleasant “let the snow keep falling” song which conveyed all the memorable images of a deep snow, roads disappearing, etc. Their next tune was a family-driven heart-healthy number about being on a “liquid” diet during holiday family time. Yes, that’s the only way out for a lot of families, good, bad, or indifferent!


Jim Puckett then took the stage with “Snowy Mountain Bride”, a “may or may not be factual” number where he’s hoping his woman is waiting for him on the snowy mountain. “I Left You an Angel” is a very tender song about leaving a Christmas ornament for his child to remember him by. He ended his set with “It’s Christmas Time Again”, where “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!


Norman Roscher ended the evening of original music with some of his favorites: “Mulberry Moon” (co-written by Glen Habl), “You and Me Baby”, and the very tender winter holiday tune “You and Me”. He then premiered a new song “All I Want for Christmas is a New President”, longing for a president who won’t embarrass him.


A few folks then presented some holiday cover songs, with Glenda Creamer performing “Christmas Time is Here”, and Jenn Smith an a cappella version of “Santa Baby”, with her friend Reuben standing in as Santa. John Ellis then delivered “Merry Christmas Baby”, and a rocking “Run Run Rudolph”, which involved some joyous audience participation.


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

Oct. 2019 Showcase

October 2019 VOCAL Showcase

It was a good night for original music at O’toole’s tonight. Though Dean Broga, scheduled to perform, had to miss the showcase due to an accident, his spot was ably covered by two stalwarts of VOCAL.

Norman Roscher

First up Norm Roscher did a set of his songs including “I Don’t Play Doctor Anymore” which is self explanatory, as he transitions from childish games to manhood. This was followed by a sad sort of dirgelike song “Lady of the Poppies’ which had a lonesome air to it, and lastly, he did an upbeat humorous tune about pigs on a garbage binge called “Pig Party”. Tasty.

Matthew Costello

Continuing ths substitute players, Matthew Costello, VOCAL’s president for life did a set of his tunes including “Meaningful One Night Stand” in which the singer , tired after all the morning after letdowns, find his true love. “If You Knew’ relates the singer’s reluctant to tell feelings to a would be love. And, his last song, a chestnut in repertoire, an obsession with the King, “Digging For Elvis” had the audience singing along with the chorus.

Gary Shaver

Long time member Gary Shaver followed with his set of keyboard selections helped out by guitarist James Wilkenson. “Somewhere between Her and You” details the singer’s plight of being caught between two loves, seeing her in your eyes etc. “I need A Little More Time” a sort of follow up to the previous song, talks about being in love with someone not the current one. Keeping the thme going, “Why Did You Hold Me Tight” explores falling in love with someone who has left him and wonders what went wrong with the relationship. And, finally in the quartet, is “How Did I Let You Go’ where the singer is stuck with memories of someone he should not have let go.

Gene and Gayla Mills

The main attraction for tonight’s showcase were the husband and wife team of Gene and Gayla Mills. He sings and plays gluitar and she plays the stand up bass and does back up vocals which makes a nice sounding duet. First off, “Hurricane” a new song, describes the results a hurricane and the destruction it has caused. An anti-tech rant “Carburator” bemoans all the technical advances we have made and wishes to return to a simpler time when gadgets, cars and life were easier to deal with. In a change of pace, Gene then performed an instrumental “Dying Fire”. “If Whiskey Had A Voice’ was a hoot of a song, in which while on stage performing, an inebriated audience member decides to make his debut right in the middle of the set and surprisingly, stuns everyone with his honest singing. Gayla then sang the song BITCH (Boys I’m Taking Charge Here) and intoned “It’s a man’s job, but I’ll (a woman) will show you how it’s done.. You go, girl. The final song in their set, was a long tale about the settling and growth of a section of Richmond called “Oregon Hill” which was settled in the 18th century alongside the James River and expanded to where it is now. A nice tribute to an historic area.

All in all, the night provided the audience with a wide variety of the talent there is in VOCAL and was amply expressed by the artists that performed on the showcase.

August 2019 showcase

August 2019 VOCAL Showcase

A special award winners showcase was on tap, tonight, at O’Toole’s Bar and Grill. Before a huge crowd of noisy patrons which made it difficult to hear the lyrics of songs, the performances featured winning songwriters and winning songs from the last two years.

Steve Nuckolls

Voted on by the membership, Steve Nuckolls who won both categories in 2018, opened the evening with a set of songs “Remembering the Past”, “Higher Bar”, “Two Good” and his winner from last year, “Something About Your Love”. After that, this year’s winners took the stage.

Jeff Wagner

Jeff Wagner, who split songwriter of the year, introduced his wife, Sherry Heath Wagner as his accompaniment on guitar and back up vocals. His set included the tunes “I Think I might Forget You”, a new song, “She Was Raised on Sad Songs” a very traditional type country song, “Sometimes”, a tribute to Nashville, titled “Musicland” and the closer “Ghost Riders” about a relationship gone wrong.

Keely Burn

Keely Burn, who split songwriter honors with Jeff, was next. VOCAL’s youngest member, Keely performed on both ukelele, and keyboard. She opened with “When I’m Acting” a tale of insecurity where the singer is better liked when she’s not herself. That was followed by a new song “Guiding Light” with some great piano riffs. Picking up the uke, she offered “I’m Not Afraid”, “Come Down Love” with whistling, then “Masterpiece” , which implied there was more to be done to to be impressive, and the set ender, “Wake Up”, which has the interesting line in it, “the greatest gift is in my mind, tonight.

Doug Patrick

The closing act, Doug Patrick won this year’s “song of the year” poll. He is a long time member of VOCAL and it’s always a treat to hear him perform his narrative songs. Dueling with a feisty 12 string guitar, he began his set with “I Wouldn’t Change a Thing”, followed by a sweet song of love “I’ll Hold You As Long As I Can” which relies on memories that are made throughout a Life time. As a contrast, “You Don’t Cross My Mind” sort of takes the opposite view, when I think about the good things in my life, “You Don’t Cross My Mind”. “Grand Daddy’s Knee” his winning song, closed out his set. This well honed tale about lessons learned in life from his grand daddy is full of poignant remembrances and visual sentiment. A song well deserved to win.

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!

June 2019 VOCAL Showcase

Performers:
Matthew Costello
John Ellis
Dick Upton (with Mirek Formacek)

The June 2019 VOCAL Showcase took place on Monday June 17, 2019 at O’Tooles Irish Pub.  It was a night of excellent musicianship and inspired lyrics.

Matthew Costello

Matthew humorously introduced his first song “Driving” as “a Showcase virgin song” in that he has never performed it at the Showcase before.  The lively number, a collaboration with Roy Kauffman, addresses a former lover who’s “driving the young boys wild.”

“Dark-eyed Mystery”, Matthew’s second selection, slower than the first, was a beautiful song of romantic longing.  This song was also a collaboration with Roy.

The third song in the set, “What Would You Do if You Knew”, describes a situation most, if not all, of us have experienced:  being attracted to another person but not feeling comfortable sharing that information.  The lyrics include “Watching you from across the room, wishing it was me that made you laugh…”, “If you knew that I’m scared to tell you how I feel” and “What would you do if you knew?”  The song included Matthew’s expressive picking on the strings and percussive slaps on the body of the guitar.

The rhythmic love song “Matter’s to Me” followed, with lyrics “I’ll be there, so don’t be late” and “You’re all that matters to me.”

Matthew ended his set with crowd pleaser “Digging for Elvis”, another Kauffman collaboration, a funny and startling song about a fanatical Elvis fan obsessed with The King!

John Ellis

After thanking O’Tooles for hosting the Showcase, and Larry Cody for creating the VOCAL Showcase table announcements, John treated the crowd to “Blues #1”, a rock instrumental that came from John’s experimenting with his first home recording system.

“I’ll be There for You” followed.  John was inspired to write the song when a friend of his was losing her beloved dog due to illness.  It’s a song of support with a wide range of dynamics and a haunting use of harmonics during the lead guitar solo.

John introduced his third song, “The Stranger”, as a little darker, bluesy rock number.  Lyrics include “Love is a stranger, I can’t get to know…..How can I find, what I’ve never known…..Love is a stranger to me.”  It’s quite effective in capturing the frustration of wanting but not yet finding love, and sounds like it’s coming from the depths of the soul of a man who can almost taste it.  John’s pre-recorded tracks added depth and fullness as he played and sang live with the tracks.

John finished his set with the upbeat rocker “In My Place” about letting go of a lover who kept her heart locked away.  “You never said you loved me…..go find what you’re looking for.”

Dick Upton (with Mirek Formacek on guitar)

Dick announced at the beginning of his set that he had three (3) new songs…..including one that he finished that morning.  Mirek Formacek provided lead guitar during the set as Dick played keyboard, guitar and sang.

Dick began on keyboard with a bluesy number entitled “Driftwood”.  “Standing on the levee, watching the driftwood float by….”  Dick’s soulful, deep, rich voice gives his music a gritty southern authenticity.

“Why I Do What I Do” followed, with Dick again on keyboard.  A moving, powerful song, it was slower and more meditative, about a relationship.  It contained the lyrics “I’ve been thinking about you….I’ve been thinking about you and me….. I’ve been searching for a long, long time… to find a way to ease my mind.”  Mirek added captivating lead guitar to Dick’s keyboard and vocals.

Dick switched to guitar for “Like When We First Fell in Love”, a song about wanting to rekindle the original spark in your lover’s eyes after being a relationship of many years.  “I wanna get back to when we first fell in love.”

The bouncy “Drive Me Crazy” references “…the long, long legs…” that drive the singer to distraction.  “You can drive all the way to L.A…..you always drive me crazy.”  Next, “Put Down the Bottle” featured Dick’s fingerwork on the acoustic guitar that meshed nicely with Mirek’s fine electric guitar work.

Dick returned to the keyboard for “My Spiritual Home”, which Dick wrote in a Key West Tiki bar.  The song evoked images of seagulls, the shoreline, the moonrise and contained the lyrics “Give me cool water to sail on, warm sand to walk on, a bar I can lean on.  For I might keep to myself, but I’m never alone in my spiritual home.”

Dick and Mirek finished their set with “Going Down to Georgia”, an upbeat bluesy piano tune that highlighted the duo’s natural interplay as accomplished musicians.

An outstanding night of original music!

May 2019 VOCAL Showcase

May 2019 VOCAL Showcase.

Welcome to O’Toole’s, the home of the VOCAL songwriters showcase every third Monday of the month. Tonight was no exception as two fine performers presented their wares to an attentive audience.
First up on the schedule was Jim Puckett, a relatively new VOCAL member. He opened his set with “Watcha Got” a cautionary tale that offered the message of whatcha do is more important that whatcha got. “Come A Little Closer” made the romantic suggestion to close the space between the two lovers so the space between them wouldn’t fit a two dollar bill. This was followed up by “Ruth” a tribute to a lady who had the patience of Job and the kindness of Ruth who was killed in a car accident. caused presumably by the singer, who’s now atoning for her death. After “Nothing Goes Wrong”, a likely song “Feeling Lucky” took on the theme of taking chances in your life. Jim closed out the set with “Our Own Blues” which depicted sort of a troubled relationship where the participants wonder what they are doing when they thought it was all under control.

Featured artist of the evening was Richard Hinman, accompanied by three other band mates, Rich Castille on Bass, son Richard Hinman Jr. on flattop dobro guitar, and Brad Barnhill on acoustic guitar. THh group demonstrated various style of music from country, to folk, rock and pop type songs. “Which Way to Arkansas” was a road song about looking for a place to settle down and find some peace in life. “At The Honkytonk” , the singer expresses his interest in a lady he sees dancing, wishing he were out there with her, “Ridge Runner” was a tale about avoiding the revenuers in the back country , featured a music track that resembled travelling, Reminiscing was the theme of “Remembering You”. The dobro was featured on “Loonie Mae” a story about a scary dream. Richard Jr. was the singer on “Whining Of a Diesel” about a trucker who misses his loved ones. One of the highlight songs of the night was “Tennessee Vols” which told the story of two civil war soldiers who were trying to escape capture and possible death at the hand of the Union army. This was followed by “Lost” and “Big Bob” “Darkness” was song about the trauma of the singer trying to come to grips with the dark moments in his life and proclaiming, “If I make it through the darkness, I’ll be coming back to you.” The last song in Richard’s set, co-written with Glen King, was “My Sweet Heaven” which was a pleasant fantasy about a beach beauty, the singer has in his sights.

Another great night of original music.

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!