Showcase #217 was a delightful melding of fine-aged song craft, new emerging talent, with rock, pop, folk and country influences. Sarah Kane made her showcase debut, wowing the crowd with her acoustic guitar and strong vocals. David Atkins was a great headliner bringing his fine catalog of songs along with the backing tracks to fill out the sound. It all took place August 17, 2009.
VOCAL is pleased to produce the showcase at Richbrau’s TapHouse each month. We couldn’t ask for a better host with such a fine selection of exquisitely prepared meals and micro-brew creations. Join us the third Monday of the month at 1212 East Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia, in the historic Shockoe Slip.
Guest emcee Larry Cody took to the stage and put the show on the right track with a big, rockin’ start in the form of his song ‘Keep On’. Strumming along and singing his song, Larry gave the audience the wake up call that the night was something special. Then with his usual flair for making the crowd feel at home, Larry welcomed the audience to the showcase and the night’s first performer.
Sarah Kane joined VOCAL last year and was finally able to squeeze a showcase performance into her busy life. And we couldn’t be happier for the addition to the list of VOCAL songwriters appearing on the stage this year. Sarah had a great stage presence, projecting vibrant energy into the room with a relaxed, confident demeanor. She worked her way through a set list that included some wonderfully tender ballad-like songs, a few upbeat numbers that were fun, and a little bit of comic delight thrown in as well. Some of the more serious material was shown in the songs ‘Sleep’ about a friend with severe depression – a song that I enjoyed very much – and ‘Thank You James’. Showing her lighter side and the ability to capture humor that is drawn from life experience, ‘Coffee’ and ‘Polka in a Parking Lot’ were enjoyable listening. Throughout the set, Sarah demonstrated a wonderful sense of melody, a deft hand on the guitar and thoughtful, well crafted songwriting. Sarah’s special guest was her 4 year old niece who joined in on the drum for ‘Rosie’. Thanks to Sarah for sharing her talent with VOCAL and starting the showcase with a fantastic set.
Larry then returned to the microphone to transition the evening to our featured performer. No stranger to songwriting or performing, David Atkins is a long time member and one of the great songwriters of VOCAL. David came prepared to put on a show and proceeded to take the audience through a musical experience that was full of life, drama, real life experience and emotional encapsulation of the best and worst of life. ‘Actually Needs Me’ was the show starter followed up by ‘When I Dream About You’. Dave showed quite the sense of humor and captured the turn of the tables that happens to the young couple, who is wild and free, laughing at the older couple with the kids in the mini-van, in the classic song ‘This Could Happen to You’. On the more tender side ‘When She Cries’ was a soft, melodic tune. The atmosphere became a little spooky with the ghost story ‘House on Leaksville Road’. In ‘Air Jamaica’ Dave captured the wonderful experience that airlines can provide with a bumpy ride and less than desirable accomodation.
Dave took time out to pay special tribute to a dear friend in the educational system who left the world too early. With a recording of ‘Because of You’ performed by the 3rd graders of Elizabeth Scott Elementary, Dave let the children of the school send the message of the wonderful contributions made by this special person. The song and more information about this inspirational educator can be found at the school’s website www.chesterfield.k12.va.us/Schools/Scott_ES/index.html on the History page. The song is a heart warming recording with piano, and the addition of synth and brass sounds to fill out the aural background of the song.
Some of the audience favorites were the classic songs from Dave such as ‘First Table from the Bar’ and ‘Wishing You Were Here’ dealing with the trials and tribulations of relationships. And the night couldn’t have ended more appropriately than with Dave’s tribute to his fellow songwriters ‘Sing Your Own Songs’ and an encore performance of ‘One Drink Left in the Bottle’.
Our wonderful performers were but one half of the night’s festivities – it wouldn’t be a show without an audience to entertain, so thanks to everyone who turned out to support our performers. A HUGE thanks to our volunteers who make it all happen – Larry Cody with table tent cards, Matt Manion for audio support and Matthew Costello for photography and web services and one more time for guest MC Larry Cody, who did a great job presenting the performers to the audience. We’ll see you next month!