Tag Archives: Steve Nuckolls

VOCAL Feb. 2019 Showcase

VOCAL Showcase–Feb. 2019

A great night for music, hosted by Norm Roscher, at O’Toole’s bar and grille, before a huge crowd of music afficiandos.

Steve Nuckolls

The showcase began with long time member and audience favorite Steve Nuckolls. Steve brings a high lonesome tenor voice to his original songs that rings with authenticity, sincerity and truth. “that Old Road” tells the story of the back road country of Western Virginia where he grew up and paints a fine portrait of the countryside. Continuing in the country vein, “Rocky Top” wishes that all the little towns in the hills of Appalachia would have the atmosphere of old time country living, friendly people, and hospitality. “Gibson” is a sweet song about the singer’s longing to own a guitar he sees hanging on the wall in a furniture store. The song “Where The Morning Glories Grow” is a sad, yet happy tale of making choices in life that have profound effects. Next in Steve’s set was “Daddy Come Home, Soon” was the tale of a mother’s task of overseeing her kids and making sure they keep attending their activities such as church and sports till daddy comes home. One song that always shines and pleases the audience, is “Something About Your Love’ which is a sweet love song that tells of the singer’s attraction to his love and sports a singable chorus. “Normandy” was a sorrowful tales of visiting that site of a horrendous WWII battle and the memories it evokes. Where can you find inspiration for a song? How about in your own backyard, or alley as the next song demonstrated. Al the “Alleyman” goes around collecting cans for recycling and refuses to take charity from the neighbors whose alley he prowls, proving that even the down and outers have their dignity. Last song of the set was “Everything’s Just Too Good’ which was the VOCAL song of the year in 2018 and relates with what body parts the singer can appreciate his love interest as in two good arms to hold, two good eyes to see you etc. adding up to it all being too good.

Jeff Wagner

Jeff Wagner is a relative newcomer to VOCAL, and has done an open mic but never been a featured performer on the showcase. Tonight he corrected that with his set of original tunes. “The Reckless Kind” spun a tale of wild and crazy folks trying to get by in the world, followed by “Sometimes The Fire” in which the singer is a bartender offering advice to a heartbroken customer and swearing he’ll stand by and give support to her as it is needed. “a House Burning In The Town, Tonight” perhaps is autobiographical as it tells the tale of a musician who decides to quit music, but can’t stay away and eventually goes back to playing with a vengeance. Another sort of autobiographical story, to which most of the older folks in the audience could relate, was “I’m Not Ready To Go To Seed” in which the singer tries to adapt to advancing age by wearing longer hair (hippie style?) and reliving the old songs of his youth. The audience joined in on the chorus. Following that, the song “My Big Brother” was a really nice tribute to a long ago deceased brother who the singer keeps alive in memory, even though, he barely got to know him. “She Was Raised On Sad Songs” tells us of a lady who was in remorse, until she met a guy with a guitar and through making music together, found a source of happiness. A little bit of musical musing can next in the song “Bazouki” somewhat cryptic in nature, which then followed by “Song Songs We Need To Play” encouraging us to not give up to early on those songs which have meaning in out life. The last song of the set, and a stirring bit of musicality, was a tribute to the indigenous people of the Mattoponi tribe. This song filled the room with images of native American life, touching on tribal rituals and symbols such as drum beats, eagles, full moon and talking to the “old ones” for wisdom. Jeff even included some drum beats on the guitar to emphasize the subject.
Once again: the showcase proved the versatility and depth of the writers who belong to VOCAL.

2019 VOCAL Open Mic,

January 2019 VOCAL Showcase

Norman Roscher
Norman Roscher

Welcome to the first open mic night of the year. While the temperature took a dive into frigidity, the atmosphere in O’Toole’s was warm and toasty for some original music.

Hosting the event was stalwart entertainer Norm Roscher. To kick off the night he exhibited his exuberant piano styling with a couple of his tunes. “Yer Beautiful” was a tribute to an an attractive lady who evinced the qualities of the title in her style of dress and looks. “Apple Wine”, an older song rarely done by Norm, was a wistful journey into a young romance that ended sadly with one participant leaving the country.

Steve Nuckolls
Steve Nuckolls

Next up was another stalwart of VOCAL, Steve Nuckolls, who regaled the huddled audience with a trio of his well written songs. “Saturday Morning With Emmie Lou” Was tale of learning to play along with her (Emmie Lou Harris’s) songs, proudly gearing up for the session with new guitar strings and picks. He followed that with “Each Town Has It’s own Rocky Top” which illustrated how small towns have a great country vibe of people and atmosphere. A song written while running, was next. “When Like Turns to Love” which analogized the transformation of emotions to the weather.

Jeff Wagner
Jeff Wagner

A fairly new member of VOCAL, Jeff Wagner, on guitar, followed Steve. “Wide Open Wyoming” was a tale of two separated lovers who fouhd a way to come together by compromising their geographic differences, in a hurricane, no less. “I Think I Might Forget, This Time” details a desire to get over a past relationship but the singer keeps getting images of her, that won’t go away, and leaves him perplexed. Jeff closed his set with “Who’s Your God” a sort of self explanatory song that asks the listener to think about what they worship.

Keely Burn
Keely Burn

Keely Burn, a younger member of VOCAL, came on stage next with her newly acquired baritone ukulele and tested out her chops on “I’m Not Afraid” a work in progress, but still well done. Next, she performed “Come Down Love” , which she opened with a whistle intro, before getting into the song. This was a plea to an unrequited lover to recognize her and give her a chance at romance with the line “Plant your flag on me”. “Lightning” was the next tune. In this one, she seems to be mad at a love interest for being jilted, somewhat amazed at quickly emotions can change.

To round out the night, Norm returned to play a few more of his songs. In his more bawdier manner, the first song was “Mr. Calls Got Big Balls” followed by a co-written ( Pam McCarthy) tune “Idle Time” and closing out with a standard of his”So Long Baby, Bye Bye”.
Once again, a great night of music was provided and enjoyed by all present.

Happy New Year from VOCAL.

VOCAL Showcase February 2011

-by Matt Manion

Collaboration between VOCAL members was on display February 21, 2011 at February’s VOCAL Showcase at O’Tooles Restaurant. Headliner Steve Nuckolls was joined on stage by fellow VOCAL members John Ellis and Larry Cody. Gary Shaver, who opened the evening, brought up Norman Roscher and friend Alan Cole, and surprised a few songwriters in attendance by performing their songs. Bill Kaffenberger, who was originally scheduled to perform, was unable to make it, but hopefully Bill will join us for a future showcase.

Gary, at his keyboard, opened his set with two of his own love songs. The first contained the refrain “my love is somewhere between her and you”. Gary’s performance caused one member of the audience to comment that Gary sounded like Floyd Cramer, the American Hall of Fame pianist who was one of the architects of the “Nashville Sound”. Gary followed it with a song about lovers who look back on their affair, the only thing left being “words on a page, yellow with age.”

The wood and brick interior of O’Tooles came alive for the next number when Gary invited Norman Roscher up to the keyboard to perform a rollicking Norman song called “Roamin’ Eye”. Gary blew alto sax as Alan Cole added tenor sax, and Norman sang in his distinctive, rich, gravely voice “…can’t put a leash on them dog-gone roamin’ eyes.”

Gary then announced that he was going to play a composition written by his friend Frank Lucas, who was in the audience. Alan added sax over Gary’s keyboards and showed how lovely and complete just two instruments can sound. Frank seemed pleased at the unexpected surprise.

Falling scales and deft fingerwork highlighted Gary’s next song, which he said sat unfinished for 10 years at the end of his piano bench. Expressing the struggle of human communications, he entoned “we’re just lost at sea, if you won’t talk to me.” And later…”let’s not sink too deep, just believe in me.”

Gary had another surprise up his sleeve. This time he honored Jim Uzel, another VOCAL member in the audience, by performing a Uzel composition. A sad, last song to a once lover, the lyrics tell the story: “…now that our love is gone, all that’s left is a sweet, sweet love song.” The song ends with a beautiful chord change.

Gary dedicated his last song, a Shaver original, to Marg, who was enjoying the music at a nearby table. A heartfelt love song, Gary sang “…and I stand amazed by your love”, and “…I thank you, my darling, for lifting me up”.

John Ellis served as MC for the evening and announced that Steve Nuckolls would be up shortly. After a brief interlude, Gary introduced Steve, who introduced his first song: Simunye.

Steve explained that the inspiration for Simunye came from a trip Steve and his wife Janice took to Africa. They had ridden an hour on horseback to a Zulu village which had no water or electricity. A reunification effort was going on at that time after a civil war, and “Simunye” can be translated as “we are one” or “we are one with this land”. John added guitar to this moving song, and member Larry Cody added harmony from the audience during the chorus.

Next was one of Steve’s newer songs, the genesis of which came this past New Year’s Eve as he was out running. “My Prayer of Thanks” is an expression of appreciation of each day, with the recognition that it could be our last. Steve dedicated his next song, “Grayson Lady”, to Ethel. It was an uptempo song with images of forests and hills.

John added guitar, and Larry plucked the bass, for Steve’s next song, “Making My Getaway”. The three musicians fell right in together and their instruments and vocals blended as if they had just come off the road after a long tour. During “When the Flag’s Half-Mast” that followed, a member of the audience commented “That Larry Cody can keep some time. He’s just got a good ear.”

Next up was “Sunrise” featuring Steve’s high, clear tenor sailing over the guitars. John’s lead was perfect, sounding almost like a banjo. A hopeful, gorgeous, song with lyrics “…you know there’s always a sunrise”.

“There’s something about your love that keeps me on the ground…” sang Steve for his next tune, followed by a song he described as a “true story told second hand”.  One audience member commented that Steve hits those high notes like Dan Fogelberg. Coincidentally, Steve joked from the stage “I think I’ll do one with my high voice.”  Steve ended his set with his “At Home on the Back Roads” and “Living Out This Love” rounding out a great set for the appreciative audience.

A fine evening of original music, made finer by the collaboration between our members and friends. Please join us for the next VOCAL showcase April 21 and watch for our newsletter for details.

VOCAL Showcase June 2010

The 227th Vocal Showcase at O’Tooles Restaurant on June 21st saw another full house, listening to the fine talents of three of Vocal’s premiere songwriters.

First off was the always entertaining Bill Wellons, with his Randy Newmanish piano tunes both topical and humorous. Bill started off his set with “Champions of the World”, in this reviewers opinion a masterpiece of exotic keyboard settings and melody and timing changes that kept you wanting more. His “Just for the Fun of It” was a playful instrumental one could imagine playing behind a silent movie. “Oh Hurricane”, was a touching tale about the woes of New Orleans following Katrina, with lyrics both biting and tender. “426” was titled such because “that’s when I wrote the song, and couldn’t think of anything else to call it”, was another instrumental portrait for whatever thought the listener might have while appreciating this heart felt melody. Next, “Doggone Blues” was a morous look at dog ownership to which many in the audience could relate.  Lastly, Bill played a new tune called “Man That’s Good Eatin”, which was about as close to Rap that I’ve ever heard Bill come, set to a bouncy country/ polka beat, and sung the celebration of food.  It was a tasty and solid set of tunes.

Second up, Steve Nuckolls, treated the audience to a set of his sensitive ballads.  Steve has more tenderness in his guitar pick than I have in my whole body!  His ballads span the topic map, from leaving the hectic life in “Making My Get-a-way” to his heartstrings tugging love song, “Something About Your Love”. Then he sings about his mountain roots in “Back Home in the Backroads” where he hits some high notes that I was sure was due to a tugging pixie in his tighty-whities, Whew! His next tunes, “Alleyman” and ” When the Flags Half-Mast” spoke of homelessness, and death with melodies that carried the message straight to your heart.  “Much Obliged” was about the stories of a hitch-hiker during one of his rides, and the closer, ” Simunye” summed up emotions from a trip to Africa.  Steve as always, kept us in touch with our hearts.

The headliner, was Triad, which is comprised of Dave Pollard, and Dale and Vickie Payne. Dave and Dale played acoustic guitars, while Vickie kept the percussive beat. Their sound, which I could best describe as “country folk pop” was uplifting and tight. The harmonies brought many of the tunes to a professional peak that never let you down. The first number, “Leaving Town” was an instrumental with some punchy guitar licks provided by Dale. “Goodbye”, was a heartfelt tune about an ended love affair, and showcased the background vocal harmonies these three have mastered. “Anne Marie”, a tune written and sung by Dale, was a country-folk ballad also about failed love, and was sung with passion and flair. “Downtown Side of the Street”, a Dave Pollard song that reminded me of Dan Fogelberg, was an uplifting number that just made you want to smile.  “Reach Out Your Hand” was written by Dave to his sister, who was having difficulties at the time. I’m sure this tune helped bring her out of her funk just for the sheer positive vibe of the message and melody.  “Devil’s Den” was a Dale song that sounded like a bit of Steve Earle influence was evident.  Sung by Vickie, it was a touching number about the woman left behind by her military husband who was eventually lost to war.  A chilling tune made tender by the close harmonies of Dave and Dale.  “Church of the Mind” as Dave said, “is a tune about Ocracoke.  Spoke of hanging out at this mental place for a bit of escape “every Wednesday at 10!” The next number, “Rock Me in the Cradle (Roll me in your arms)” was a love song that had a Jimmy Buffet meets Jim Croce feel.  The great guitar licks took this tune to the next musical level.  The closing song was one written by Dale called “Bull Pasture River”.  This county tinged tune was about a beloved mountain get a way which was beautifully painted by the tight backing vocals of Dave and Vickie.

As Triad were singing about “heaven in the hills” on this final number, I was thinking..”heaven is right here, right now with all of this great music”.

Thanks to all for a thoroughly engrossing show!

-Norman Roscher

VOCAL Showcase December 2009

VOCAL’s holiday showcase was number 221 in the longest running continuous showcase in Central Virginia! It was much more than a typical showcase with 10 performers, a standing room only crowd and a festive atmosphere.  The festivities were almost brought to a halt by a surprisingly large winter snow storm two days earlier, but with passable roads, the showcase went on without a hitch!

While the music is the reason for having a showcase, the December showcase was much more than a musical exhibition.  The night came together because of the generosity of our supporters, the hard work of our performers, the spirit of our audience!

We were all glad to be back at O’Tooles restaurant at 4800 Forest Hill Avenue in Richmond for the second showcase at this great location.  It’s a wonderful venue for music, food and to celebrate a festive time of the year.  

Part of the evening’s festivities were giveaways for the audience.  CD’s were donated by The Taters, Marna Bales, Dave Pollard, Norman Roscher, Cy Taggart, Gerry Laverty and Pops Walker.  We cannot thank these folks enough for their generosity, wich added a lot to the evening’s excitement.  During short intermissions spread across the evening, drawings were held for the audience members who received boxed sets of the donated CD’s.  We also must pass along a huge thanks to Gary Shaver for bringing along the tickets for the drawing and generally helping with the giveaways.  Matt Manion was invaluable in his assistance with the giveaways for the VOCAL members in attendance.

The music was the main point of the evening, but there was so much packed into this one evening, it would be impossible to fit it all into one article.  Gary Shaver was on hand to play with fellow songwriters such as Bill Wellons and John Ellis as well as performing some of his own work.  Rose Ann Robbins did a spoken word performance of one of her poems, adding a unique touch to the evening.  Other performing songwriters included Steve Nuckolls, Norman Roscher, Matthew Costello, James Lester and Don Pinkleton with son Robbie.

The Taters wrapped the night up in a great big bow for the holidays, with a thirty minute set that included tried and true, tasty Tater tunes, as well as some cover songs including a grand jam of Feliz Navidad that included most of the performers from the night!  It was such a great time.  The night just flew by and everyone was in great spirits heading up to Christmas.

Thanks to Larry Cody for producing the evening’s flyers, to Matt Manion for his continued assistance with anything that is needed and to all the fans, listeners, members of the public and anyone within listening distance!  We’ll see you in 2010!

VOCAL Showcase October 2009

The October 19, 2009 showcase was a little new, a little old, a little folk, blues and soul!   We welcomed new member Cheryl Fare to the stage for her showcase debut, Darry Ellyson brought out some new songs as well as some of his great older material, and Steve Nuckolls treated the showcase crowd to his featured performance including new material.  Showcase #219 was a great event for live, original music in the river city!

Cheryl Fare kicked off the evening with her mixture of folk, jazz and blues.  In addition to songwriting, Cheryl’s creative endeavours include 17 years in theater.  Her website www.cherylfare.com includes a blog and bio – check it out!  Cheryl started her set in a laid back fashion with the first song she recorded ‘The Messy Song’ which sounded wonderful with the piano accompaniment of Sonny Baharloo.  Many sources in life provide inspiration for her songs like ‘Roll Me Under’, which is based on a book she read.  Throughout the set, Cheryl’s smooth, but strong vocal was a pleasure to drink in, made all the sweeter by strum of her acoustic guitar and Sonny’s work on the keyboard.  The song ‘Stones in my Pocket’ was a wonderful lead-in for the next song, which celebrated the bygone days of the Ford Pinto, ‘Springfield’.  This song brought back a lot of memories for those of us in attendance.  It is wonderful to have Cheryl as part of VOCAL and to have this opportunity to hear her original works on the showcase stage – we hope she’ll come back in 2010!

Darryl Ellyson was up next with new material, and the beautiful tone of a Martin guitar for accompaniment.  The crowd did not have to wait too long for a sample of Darryl’s new material, because he started off with the fresh new lyric ‘Romeo’s Hot Tonight’.  Darryl kept the theme of love going through much of the set as he worked his way through ‘I’m Still in Love With You’ and ‘I’m a Fool for You’.  As always his booming vocal was strong and carried throughout the venue like a thunderclap across a summer sky.  After the song ‘I’m Late Again’, Darryl decided to treat us to his attempt at his own version of Bluegrass music ‘The Diamond Ring’, then closed out the set with a favorite ‘When I Get Home’.  Learn more about Darryl’s music and where he’ll appear next at www.myspace.com/darrylellysonbluelightdistrict.

After Darryl packed up and mingled with the crowd, it was time for the much anticipated appearance of our featured performer for the night, Steve Nuckolls.  Steve is a Virginia songwriter who is originally from a musical hot spot known as Galax, Virginia.   Known for thoughtful songwriting with a very human quality to his subject matter, Steve has written many great songs based on his travels, whether overseas or in the small town where he grew up, often inspired by the people he has met along the way.  Love was the theme of choice for the first part of Steve’s set as he began with ‘Living Out This Love’, then moved right into ‘Die for Love’ (one of the first songs he wrote) and ‘Your Loving Arms’.  ‘Hand Me Downs’ is a wonderful song about making due with what you have as seen from the viewpoint of growing up as a younger sibling.   Amidst some classic songs such as ‘Greetings from Normandy’, ‘Much Obliged’  and ‘Alley Man’, Steve offered a new song to the crowd ‘Something About Your Love’, a wonderful surprise for the crowd.  The song ‘Alley Man’ has a true backstory to it, from Steve’s interactions with a gentleman who would patrol the alley’s in his neighborhood just looking for the time and maybe some tin cans to take away.  With his quiet, but confident vocals and a guitar style that jumps between strumming and fingerpicking, Steve evokes images of James Taylor and other singer/songwriters who have made major contributions with an acoustic guitar and a thoughtful lyric.  The set closed out with a song inspired by a trip to Africa ‘Simunye’ and a song inspired by a trip down Interstate 95 ‘Sunrise’. 

Thanks to all of our showcase attendees for supporting live, original music, it would not be a showcase without you!  And since we are a volunteer organization, we could not get the showcase off of the ground without help from dedicated members like Larry Cody who provides table tent cards (and a whole lot more), Matt Manion for sound services, as well as just being there when you need him, and Matthew Costello of Costello Media www.costello-media.com for photography and web services.  We’ll see you next month at a new location O’Tooles Restaurant and Pub www.otoolesrestaurant.com .  See you there!

VOCAL Showcase September 2009

Showcase #218 was an electric night of musical variety and prime songcraft.  From solo artist to full-blown band, from classic, crisp acoustic sounds to fiery electric rock, there was a little something for each listener and a whole lot of music for everyone.  John Ellis, Steve Nuckolls, and The Taters were the musical livestock and they were corralled and put to work on the showcase stage by guest emcee and ringmaster Norman Roscher.  September 21, 2009 was a night to remember.

The showcase is produced each month at the fine location of VOCAL’s host, Richbrau’s TapHouse, every 3rd Monday.  With a seasonal list of fine micro-brew and some delightful meals masterfully prepared by the chef, the TapHouse is an ideal location for the songwriter’s showcase.  Join us each month at 1212 East Cary Street in Shockoe slip for the best in food and music.

Setting a festive mood and delivering the first musical offering of the evening was VOCAL’s own dreamweaving, creative maestro, Norman Roscher.  With a special tribute written just for the showcase, Norman immediately set an atmosphere of fun with a circus-music theme, lyrics that included the names of the evening’s performers and a salute to Richbrau’s micro-brew creations.  Thank you, Norman for getting the night off to a rousing start!

After the completion of Norman’s introduction, Norman introduced the first of two short set artists.  John Ellis had electric guitar in hand, with backing tracks queued up to deliver a 15 minute set of rock and blues-based songs.  Starting off with an instrumental number, the first song was divided into two parts, a guitar only, finger-picking prelude called ‘Chimes’ which led into the all out rockin’ ‘Groove Thaing’.  With blues inspired licks and a high energy backbeat, the song was a good excuse to jam.  John then moved into the bluesy, rock number ‘The Stranger’, which is a song about the isolation that can be felt in the realm of the search for love.  The next song was another instrumental with a heavy blues influence ‘Blues No1’ complete with backing tracks that covered bass, rhythm guitar and drums.  The song was part slow blues and part melodic rock.  The set wrapped up with one of John’s favorite closing numbers ‘In My Place’, a rocking, electric number about the frustration of a relationship where one party was only there until something else came along.

Norman then introduced the next performer of the evening, a long time VOCAL member who has written many wonderful songs that show a lot of thoughtful reflection from life experience and the ways of the world.  In addition to his participation in VOCAL, Steve Nuckolls is an active member of the Nashville Songwriters Association.  ‘Making My Getaway’ was Steve’s first song followed by the reflective and inspiring ‘When the Flag’s Half Mast’ .  A new song added to his great catalog, ‘About Your Love’ was a wonderful creation consistent with Steve’s thoughtful style.  The set closed with a favorite of mine ‘Sunrise’, which is about driving down I-95 one New Year’s day.  Thanks to Steve for a great performance that really set a nice mood for the evening.

With a quick switch of the guitars and the addition of a bass, electric lead and a drummer, the featured performance of the night was none other than Richmond’s The Taters!  In support of their upcoming release Menagerie, The Taters put on an hour long set of their amazing blend of ‘eclectic roots pop’ as they like to describe their music.  With a scaled down drum set for Buz King and the electric guitar finger work of Greg Marrs, The Taters had a full, rich sound that really adds a sonic backdrop to the wonderful vocal work of Craig Evans and T. Bradley (Brad) Tucker.  With Craig on bass and Brad on acoustic guitar the duo are formidable on their own, but it was quite a treat to hear the full band in the setting of the TapHouse.  Most of the set featured music from the new CD Menagerie, including the first song of the night ‘No I Don’t’ , which had the kind of vocal harmony that Brad and Craig are well know for.  ‘Oceans Apart’, also on the new CD, included a bit of guitar from Greg that was somewhat reminiscent of surf guitar.  Taking the audience back a few years to the CD Recess, The Taters played two songs from that release, ‘On Our Own’ and ‘The Kiss’ – the song ‘The Kiss’ has a rather dramatic sense to it with the strong emotion in Craig’s vocal.  Another song from Recess, which has been redone for the Menagerie CD is ‘That’s Me’ – an interesting rework of a familiar Tater tune!  ‘Wolfman Told Me Tonight’ is a new song which will also be featured in the film Virginia Creepers, www.virginiacreepersmovie.com – check out the website for info!  The documentary will feature highlights of 50 years of late night TV horror host shows.  The Taters played many more songs from their extensive catalog and wrapped up the night with three more from Menagerie ‘Spend a Little Time’, ‘Such a Good Day’ and the encore performance of ‘Sing a Little Sunshine Song’, written by Roger Miller.  The performance certainly builds the anticipation for the new release which will be coming out within the next few months.  Keep up with The Taters and all things Tater related at www.thetaters.com.

What a fantastic night for live, original music!!  We can’t thank John Ellis, Steve Nuckolls and the The Taters enough for performing and an extra special thanks to Tater soundman Mike Gribik for running sound.  Thanks to Larry Cody for table tent cards, to Matthew Costello for his web services and photography and our guest MC Norman Roscher.  And the biggest thanks of all to fans and the general audience members who come out to listen – it wouldn’t be a show without you.  Thank you and we’ll see you next month!

VOCAL Showcase April 2009

Showcase number 213, was the annual cover night for VOCAL.  Performers covered at least one song from a fellow VOCAL songwriter.  The night was full of surprises and anticipation as the weather kept performers at home and the night turned into a review of some of VOCAL’s outstanding long-time members.

The showcase is hosted each month by Richbrau’s TapHouse.  Come join us at 1212 East Cary Street in Richmond’s historic Shockoe Slip for fine food and great beverages from this local brew-pub.  Enjoy the company of our songwriters as you enjoy your meals in a great venue.

Steve Nuckolls kicked off the night with his brand of thoughtful narratives drawing on many life experiences to craft songs of deep meaning.  The set started off with ‘Making My Getaway’ an original of Steve’s with good feeling and a nice easy rhythm.  Steve then presented his cover song ‘Sundown in a Coal Town’ which was penned by VOCAL’s John Carter.  The song is about miners expressing their passions and hopes on a Saturday night through their own music.  The set then turned reflective with Steve’s song ‘When the Flag’s Halfmast’, which is about the memories conjured up when we see this reminder of those no longer with us.  The first set concluded with the hopeful and spiritual song inspired by a trip to an African village ‘Simunye’.  Thanks to Steve for a great start to the evening.

Gary Shaver took to the stage next for his first of two sets.  Gary’s ‘Your Sweet Love’ was a great way to get started.  Gary’s cover songs inlcuded a number written by the team of Nancy Walker and Cham Laughlin as well as a number from Chris Craig.

A short intermission was allowed for the attending songwriters to determine the next guest up to the stage.  It seems that the weather kept many of our songwriters at home for the evening and we wanted to keep the spirit of the open call alive.  About the time we were ready to pick straws to see who would play next, someone asked ‘Where’s Norman’?  No sooner were these words uttered, than Norman Roscher appeared – as if Huddini had conjured him up with a magic word and a puff of smoke zapping Norman from his peaceful home to Shockoe slip.  He was immediately drafted into the showcase line-up!

Norman used an acoustic guitar loaned by our first performer Steve Nuckolls and Gary Shaver’s keyboard to put on an impromptu, and incredibly entertaining show!  Sampling his song catalogue, Norman played songs that were sometimes sweet and sometimes just wild and fun!  One of my favorites ‘Keep on Droolin’ was a humorous reminder that no matter how alone we feel at times, there’s someone droolin’ for you somewhere (even if it’s someone you’d be more inclined to run from than embrace).  Songs like ‘Mr. Sleepy Head’ and ‘Butterflies’ had a good bit of the sweetness I mentioned earlier, while ‘Bart the Pirate’ (a Glen Hobles song) and ‘Hey Baby You’re Beautiful’ were just great fun to listen to and sing along with.  We can’t thank Norman enough for volunteering his talents to keep the showcase rolling along!

Gary Shaver stepped back up on the showcase stage to present his second set of the evening.  ‘Tell Me You Love Me One More Time’, written by Nancy Walker and Jeff Long was the first song of the set and a fantastic ballad with a great melody.  The set was rounded out with ‘Make Everything Alright’, ‘If I Could Go Back Home’ and ‘As All Things Pass’.

Thanks to our volunteers for making the showcase a great event.  Larry Cody provides table tent cards to advertise the showcase, Matthew Costello handles photography and web development and John Ellis handles sound services.  Thanks as well to the performers and all who show up to the showcases each month!