Album Review: Kenny Vaughan — V

Juli Thanki | October 6th, 2011

kennyvaughanvThose who’ve seen Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlative perform live or caught an episode of The Marty Stuart Show have probably taken special notice of the lanky, bespectacled guitar whiz whose usual spot is to Stuart’s right. That’s “Cousin” Kenny Vaughan, one of the finest pickers in country music.

Vaughan, a longtime Superlative and former student of Bill Frisell (he’s also toured with Lucinda Williams and numerous other Americana and country artists), has delivered a solo debut that draws on his years of experience and myriad musical influences. V is the epitome of retro cool, drawing on classic country, rockabilly, surf music, and a touch of late ‘60s/early ‘70s Southern rock for an album boasting several songs that sound timeless—well, except for “Hot Like That,” which references reality television star Kim Kardashian.

Though Vaughan is fairly limited vocally, he makes it work for him with rapid-fire deliveries on songs like the sung-chanted “Stay Outta My Dreams.” The bulk of the musical heavy lifting is done extremely well by Vaughan, Stuart, and the Fabulous Superlatives, with a handful of guests adding welcome flourishes. The Oak Ridge Boys contribute their tight harmonies to “Okolona, Tennessee,” while Charles Treadway plays organ on moody surf instrumental “Mysterium.” It’s these instrumentals that best showcase Vaughan’s sheer talent, with his intricate, uber twangy guitar work commanding the listener’s full attention on “Wagon Ride” and “Minuit Sur La Plage.”

V ends with “Don’t Leave Home Without Jesus,” a toetapper of a gospel song that explains“You may forget your keys/You May forget your phone,” but never go anywhere without the Lord tucked in your back pocket. It’s helpful advice, for those who may lean that way. Here’s some more: don’t go another day without listening to V.

4 Stars

Preview or purchase V.

  1. Sam G.
    October 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Great album, and it’s nice to hear a guitar player in Nashville who draws inspiration from somewhere besides early ’80s music videos on MTV. I wish other players in Nashville (Keith Urban, looking at you) would tone down the screaming solos a bit.

Tagged In This Article

// //

Current Discussion

  • Mike W: Really liking the new Ryan Bingham song, his last album really didnt do much for me, but this new song …
  • nm: Oh, the old Sutler. The first time I visited Nashville, I went to a New Year's Eve show there: Lonesome …
  • Tom: ...another "favorite child question". then again, what would the genre be without all the drama it's got to deal with. …
  • luckyoldsun: Dwight's had so many great songs. From memory, I'd have to name "Bakersfield" with Buck Owens, "Guitars, Cadillacs," "Nothing" and …
  • Scooter: Thanks Jonathon. Downloaded "Last Chance for a thousand years" and love it. Was unaware of that album.
  • Donald: The correct answer is of course, "Bury Me."
  • Leeann Ward: As far as I know, I have all of Dwight's albums. It's truly impossible to choose a favorite song, but …
  • Michael: I wonder if Kasey Chambers will be visiting Dr. Gwen Korovin for treatment of her vocal cords...
  • Dave D.: Just about any song off of Dwight's first three albums would qualify as a favorite; forced to pick one I'd …
  • Jack Williams: No. Not Owner of a Lonely Heart. I was hoping for better when I saw the article title …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern