Rock and roll hasn't died, it just grew up...
As previously stated, I am on a musical quest. While on my sonic adventure I like to stray from what my traditional jazz wheelhouse is all about to include those artists that dig a little deeper than most and Ray Vaughn is the poster boy for what a rock and roll singer / songwriter is all about. While we have a middle aged millionaire like Eddie Vedder (who I love dearly) still belting out his social manifestos about the evils of greed in society, Ray Vaughn takes a more believable and highly personal approach with Way Down Low.
I don't dig standard reviews jazz or otherwise, never have. Most critics are a bit self serving and the vast majority offer up their two cents on a release that they either don't get or have never taken the time to see if they are even remotely on track as to the artist intentions. Me? I like to get my information straight from the source and who better to describe their work then the artist that poured their blood, sweat, and tears into the finished product? I asked Ray Vaughn just what Way Down Low was all about and he was kind enough to share his thoughts,
That's a tough one, it goes from big, Way Down Low, to a whisper like on Boardwalk, or Empty Place...for the first time in my life I didn't feel tied to any one, particular style...to be honest I didn't see this project as anything more than exorcising a bunch of old ghost...Michael Rosen, along with the other players just nailed it."
Way Down Low is a cathartic release which is a little rough around the edges, raw, organic and real with an introspective p.o.v we can all relate to. A former editor would often caution me on telling the listener what they would experience. I don't do that. Much like Ray Vaughn, I share a perspective on life and it's unique ability to take us from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye. Artistic comparison is inherently unfair but for the uninitiated consider the songwriting of Chris Isaak meshed with the vocal presence of an Eddie Veder. Vaughn nails down what I refer to as that three dimensional sonic depth of field, layers of texture that wash over your soul. "Way Down Low" is a gripping personal statement that moves effortlessly into a more acoustic alternative country riff with "Boardwalk." If that singer / songwriter vibe is what you dig, Ray Vaughn is easily the best kept secret in music today.
Tracks: Way Down Low; Boardwalk; Stay; Wish I Could Be; Petty Crime; 1:54 AM; Empty Place; Reversal Of Fortune; Accident In Waiting; Breathe.
Personnel: Ray Vaughn: vocals, guitar; Ed Rawlings: electric guitar and keyboard on "Stay"; Stephen Winkle: bass; Michael Urbano: drums; Phill Bennett: hammond b3 on "Way Down Low" and "Reversal Of Fortune"; Michael Rosen: keyboards on 1:54 AM.