Ray Vaughn (Hostages) has resurfaced after years of heavy touring small venues, perfecting his “A man and his guitar” approach. Along for the ride are his former band mates Ed Rawlings, Stephen Winkle, and journeyman drummer Michael Urbano (Smash Mouth, Paul Westerberg, Black Lab), as well as keyboardist Phil Bennett.
Right off the bat I loved Way Down Low. Ray Vaughn’s approach is familiar, reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, and dare I say Temple of the Dog, with facets all its own. Best of all the overall sound of the players involved is all over the map giving the album a refreshing sound that doesn’t hunker down in any particular style. The production is quality which gives you the direct experience of sampling all the band has to offer on a grand as well as an individual scale.
Lyrically the album is very journeyman ranging from songs about love and loneliness to quizzical numbers where Ray Vaughn states “You don’t need food stamps in heaven”, talking about living rough and possibly imagining the worriless after life. In any case it’s an interesting tune, and really, they all are. The album just reads like a well thought out book of shorts from someone whose not only lived, but understood their plight every step of the way. Add to that the music is fantastic and you’ve got yourself a real winner in this CD. Well worth checking out.