The January 2023 showcase had two veteran VOCAL members and two newer ones scheduled, but unfortunately Dave Drouillard, a new member, had some technical difficulties preventing him from performing (we’ll take a rain check, Dave!).
The show opened with longtime member Carol Torricelli (aka Torch) who delivered some very intriguing and dreamy tunes reminiscent of Joni Mitchell. Come to Virginia could be the official Tourism song for the Commonwealth of Virginia as it describes all the wonderful sights, smells and sounds of the state. Give Me the Simple Life was the first of two songs co-written with longtime member Glen King. This tune embodies many images and thoughts we could all take away, the many benefits of living a simple, uncomplicated life. Don’t You Slow Me Down was written about a trip she took to explore her roots in Sicily and featured her signature stellar whistling ability! She has her bags all packed and is ready to go, so don’t anyone get in her way! Tossing Like a Salad Over You is a jazzy-ish tune describing her relationship with an individual, wondering if he would continue texting her and where their relationship was heading. Highway to Your Heart was the second number co-written with Glen and was written fairly recently for the truck song challenge VOCAL had. They’re burning up the highway trying to get back home to the one they love. Saw someone who looked like Jesus standing by the road and definitely had a country station dialed in on the radio. Keep it in the road! Great set, Torch!
Veteran member Keely Burn then took the virtual Zoom stage and delivered several of her signature tunes, presenting a theme that could probably be turned into a musical. You’ll Like Me More When I’m Not Me was the beginning of the journey in the life of the fictitious woman named Blue, where she doesn’t have much self-confidence, doesn’t like the limelight and would be more attractive if she’s just being herself and not acting. “Act II” of this story is someone new coming into the story who thinks they’re more attractive if they’re outgoing. The next chapter in Blue’s life deals with terms and conditions, where you need to lay the groundwork up front to get on the same page (I may not want you as a companion but would welcome your company). Masterpiece reveals the conflict that often arises in a relationship where you have a misunderstanding of your terms and conditions, and in this case Blue and her companion are not on the same page. Waltz tells us that love is not a written-in-stone foregone conclusion, but that there are ways to fulfill a relationship other than the traditional one. You Were My Guiding Light, the conclusion of the narrative, is a heartfelt number every cloud has a silver lining but all you see is gray. I heard your voice beside me, your song showed me the way, you were the guiding light. Great job, Keely!
Newcomer Erik Gaines then took the stage and treated us to some mighty fine tunes. Drunk ‘til New Year’s was reflective of a recent visit to the ABC store where a customer had a fully-loaded cart and was going to get obliterated for the entire week via his Christmas spirits. About to be three sheets to the wind, he’s ready to just pass out on the couch where no one will notice. Fools Tread Where Angels Fear To Go tells reveals that he’s a fool for her love and will do anything, walk the wire, etc. to win her love. In Bad Dog he portrays himself as a tail-waggin’ somewhat well-behaved puppy willing to do anything to make the girl take him home. I Only Mean The Best is a new heartfelt song about someone just trying to do the right thing and be the best they can, even though someone thinks the worst of them. The words may sometimes come out wrong, but no harm is intended. I’m Coming Home To You recounts the experiences of being out on the road far away from home living out your dreams but having other people tell you what you can and can’t be. It took him a while to figure it out but he’s finally come around. I’ll Love You Even More Tomorrow is a testament to the value of twenty years of marriage with many more to come! They were able to work through the ups and downs through the years but are in it for the long haul. Way to go, Erik!