VOCAL Songwriters Showcase #261
Virginia's longest continuously running Songwriters Showcase.
In May, we welcome long time VOCAL member John Ellis back to the stage along with new members Drexel Rayford an Tom White.
Join us for an evening of fine songwriting and performing.
Please join us for fine songwriting, great performances and wonderful atmosphere at O'Tooles!
One day in elementary school, during a 'free time', a friend played songs from the album 'Rock 'n' Roll Over' by KISS. Since that day, John’s mind was locked on the task of seeking out the sound of that electrified guitar!
At age 16, he bought a cheap electric guitar from a friend of his brother. In his second band he experienced the first taste of a live crowd. In a small, smokey room that someone had rented, they were the opening band. No more than 20 people attended, but that was enough to wet John’s appetite. After the second band broke up, he decided to go back to college and finish up his business studies, but he could never shake the desire to pursue music. Most afternoons after classes, he'd go home and jam along to CD's from favorite bands, especially ZZ Top and AC/DC.
After about 15 years of jamming here and there, experimenting with home recording and getting my 'day job' career established, John decided to seek out the support of fellow songwriters and get back into live performing. He’s been performing at least once every few months since 2006. He’s now working to complete his first full length recording of music that has been written over the past 15 to 20 years.
Drexel’s music life began in his native North Carolina and has taken him from the university coffee house circuit, to Europe as an itinerate singer-songwriter based in Salzburg, Austria, to touring various listening venues in the USA, most recently as a member of the Vermont based Bob Amos Band.
Drexel has worked with a variety of ensembles and bands but has mostly worked solo over the years. Largely, Drexel has used his songwriting abilities to augment his work as a psychiatric chaplain and then as a parish pastor.
Now, having retired from pastoral work, Drexel is focusing his energies almost exclusively on “setting the minstrel free.” He is currently working on his fourth recording project tentatively entitled, “The Days of the Empire.”
Tom White began playing alto sax and guitar at 10 years old in the school band and various garage bands playing "sock hops" and a few community center events with various bands. After High School, Tom attended VCU and played at a few downtown clubs, mostly in hard rock bands.
When disco became popular, there were few venues that still hired live musicians and Tom concentrated on family and career. His career took him into computing and the availability of digital recording equipment allowed him to combine his love of music and computers. The past few years Tom has been learning (and relearning) various instruments, recording techniques and is concentrating on writing and recording music. His career, first with the Navy and later as a computer engineer have allowed him to travel extensively and gain insight and perspective on the world
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May 20, 2013
8:00 - 9:30 PM
O'Toole's Restaurant & Pub
4800 Forest Hill Ave.
Richmond, VA 23225
Click for reviews of previous Showcases.
How to Play
If you would like to be included to play the showcase, be sure to contact us to get on the list. Your dues must be current to play. We may request an audition tape if we are unfamiliar with you or your material.
The Live showcase format features original music only. A variety of songwriters and styles are represented with changing formats
One of the important and most misunderstood skills of songwriting is performance, and that’s why the VOCAL Songwriters Showcase has been going full tilt for over 20 years. In a local venue, in front of a real crowd (fortunately, mostly songwriters like yourself), you can hone the craft of delivering stories set to melody.
Each month on the third Monday, we gather from 8:00 p.m. till 9:30 p.m. to see and hear three or four of Virginia’s songwriting musicians let us in on their best stuff. The performance list is open to all VOCAL members and the Showcase is open to the public. With slots assigned generally on a first come-first serve basis at least a week prior to the show, it’s not just another open mic night.
You’re expected to show up with your woodshedding done, yet more than a few showcase performances have been introduced with the comment, “I just wrote this today, and I’d really like to know what you think.”
Fresh, fearless and always friendly, the VOCAL Songwriters Showcase is one of the great benefits of VOCAL membership, a real stage where you can get your “C” legs and find out first hand how audiences react to your compositions. Come on down one third Monday and hear for yourself!
- Russell Lawson