April 2022 VOCAL Songwriters Showcase

The April 2022 VOCAL Virtual Songwriters Showcase featured two of our long-time members, James Lester and David Atkins. This was another virtual showcase using Zoom while streaming via FB Live, which has been our standard operating procedure during the pandemic.James LesterJames opened the show, zooming in from Halifax County. He brought us a sampling of some of his finest blues-ery, treating us to the tunes he has written during the pandemic. He opened with Love To Share, accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica, grooving to the rapper’s beat and rhyme – throw me a line if you have some love to share! Another harmonica-driven blues song is Backdoor Man, where who knows what’s gonna happen if he shows up again at my back door looking for my woman. Confused and Blue is a tune many of us can relate to, where we are showing the signs of age, a sharp contrast to our youth when we knew everything! Mr. Gray Cat describes his relationship with a semi-feral cat who is friendly enough to allow you to feed him but don’t even think about petting him! Jody Got Your Gal and Gone, and Army-inspired tune, where you are taught to kill because God is on your side and if you come home with only one leg consider yourself lucky! The US Capitol events on January 6th inspired his next tune, Trying to Get Along, where he walks down both sides of the sidewalk, just trying to get along with the people he meets. Sing the Morning In is a minor-blues tune where his ears are ringing and voices in his head – angels looking down at him – let him sing his song! James ended his set with The Boogey Man, wondering what you would do if he came out of the shadows and surprised you – the sunlight turns him into a Nervous Nilly! Great set, James!

David Atkins

David Atkins then took the Zoom stage, accompanied by his backing tracks, with some of his signature tunes, including the honky-tonk bar-related favorites. When a Woman Smiles is one of our favorites, and we all know those smiles are too hard to resist! Gray is one of his newer tunes and takes a realistic view of society where everything is not black or white. The House on Leaksville Road is a haunting number recounting a visit to the house where he once lived with a love of the past. Emancipated is a newer song reflecting the ignorance and misguided attitudes of certain people stuck in their ways and unwilling to accept the truth. Wishing You Were Here takes us back to the bar where he’s crying in his beer and licking his wounds after being left by his lover. Southern Pride is another new song and bears the “three chords and the truth” philosophy of songwriting. He’s remembering some of his field trips from school in his youth where they visited homes/museums of Civil War heroes whose reputation has become tarnished through the years, making Southern Pride a dubious phrase. He then delivered his signature tune and crowd favorite Sing Your Own Song, a tribute to all of us writers out there just trying to get our stories out make sure they’re heard. He ended the evening with One Drink in the Bottle, another bar/honky-tonk number that he crafts so well (can’t waste a drop!). Way to go, David!

This concluded yet another wonderful evening of songwriting performances by two of our stellar writers!