Round and Shiny: Andy Vaughan Finds the Song
My favorite happy accidents have been musical ones. During our epic Civil War field trip last year (yep, we're nerds), we were wandering through Richmond, Va., when a band flyer caught my eye. A be-Stetsoned dude was hoisting a double-necked guitar in the photo. That was enough for me.
So to our otherwise airtight itinerary was added an impromptu visit to a down-home nightspot called the Camel. The headliner featured on the flyer turned out to be from Van Nuys. But opening act Andy Vaughan & the Driveline was the honky-tonkin' pride of Richmond.
Some months later, we pitched in for the band's Kickstarter campaign to fund their new album — and a few days ago received an e-mail with the download codes for 11 new tracks. Searching for the Song doesn't disappoint; one listen and I was transported to my booth at the Camel, a stupid grin plastered on my face.
But even the best musicians can fade to a beer-soaked soundtrack without great songs. Fortunately, Vaughan is a first-rate tunesmith with an exceptional feel for classic country (with a nod to Bakersfield).
The singer-guitarist excels at serving tear-in-my-beer tropes with the slightest wink, but Searching also finds him exploring more emotionally raw territory.
It's not easy to marry a breezy, shuffling melody to an affectingly melancholy lyric, but he does it with aplomb. Witness the jaunty heartbreak of the opener, "One More Teardrop," the boom-chuck kiss-off "Movin' On," the infectious infidelity ode "Caught on the Fence" or the lilting lament "Hello Misery."
The singer-guitarist excels at serving tear-in-my-beer tropes with the slightest wink, but Searching also finds him exploring more emotionally raw territory, notably on the title track and the fierce album closer, "Don't Tell Me I Ain't Country," a riposte to Nashville slicksters and trend-watchers that crackles with commitment.