The June 2022 VOCAL Virtual Songwriters Showcase featured two fine songwriters who represent distinctly different points within the spectrum of our membership, Keely Burn and Doug Patrick. This was another virtual showcase using Zoom while streaming via FB Live, which has been our standard operating procedure during the pandemic.
Keely opening the evening, sharing both her Richmond home as well as her favorite four-legged audience with us! Keely has been with VOCAL since 2013, where even as a teenager her creative potential was clear to see. Her songwriting is filled with smart, challenging lyrics, joyful melodies, and confidence in the face of a challenging world. Her set tonight opened with the self-affirmation anthem Not Afraid. From her forthcoming sophomore album release (stay tuned for more info), Bed Of Nails explored the difficulty of making friends in the digital age, and “friending” someone who ultimately isn’t worth one’s time. Switching instruments, we were next treated to “Ukalady”. (Don’t ask, just watch the showcase on our website archive!) Keeping with the 4-string theme, Keely charmed us with her quirky tongue-in-cheek bio-pic, Cute Girl With Glasses. Her next songs dove further into her new album project, in the form of anxiety studies, including Drowning On Thin Air and Your Company, in honor of Pride Month; addressing those dealing with the pressures of trying to conform to society’s expectations. Rounding out this portion of her set was The Flood, a call to prioritize real life issues over personal drama. Concluding with a song of empowerment, for anyone struggling to carry both themselves and a partner, Keely delighted us with one of our favorites, Masterpiece. Thank you, Keely, for a great set!
We then turned from one of our freshest songwriters to one of our most enduring. Doug’s standard of excellence has endured as long as many of us can remember, and no one tells a story in song like Doug. Doug’s stage was his screened-in back porch, complete with rocking chair and crickets for background ambience!
Doug opened his set with the dreams of a small-town boy looking for a faster life, in Good Time Train. Next, when things don’t work out, we took comfort in the promise of a home to come back to, in Rivertown.
I try not to use words like “old”, “seasoned”, and “experienced” in these reviews, but when the artist sings a song of fatherly love, written for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren(!), the artist leaves me little choice! Congratulations, Doug, both on the great-grandchildren, and for your tender song I’ll Hold You.
Doug continued with a story of Kentucky migrants looking for better days during the Great Depression, in Getaway, an old (sorry!) VOCAL favorite made new again with a slightly slower tempo and a soulful, poignant singing of the lyrics.
Hot dogs just taste better at a baseball game, and baseball just looks better when the coach finally relents and puts your grandson in the game, in Put Him In The Lineup.
Doug’s interest in Civil War history came in handy for his next few songs. Molly told of the horrors of battle through the eyes of one soldier’s final lament, while One Lone Georgia Pine romanticized a dark time from the performer’s ancestry.
Doug then concluded this night of original songwriting excellence with a song of hope for the future, “food for thought” as he put it, in I Believe.
Doug Patrick and Keely Burn. Separated by generations, but united in the craft of songwriting and the pursuit of excellence. Thanks to you both for a wonderful evening of music!