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VAUGHN
SOLDIERS & SAILORS ON RIVERSIDE

Z Records
Produced by: Danny Vaughn, Michael Arbeeny & Paul Orofino

Released: APRIL 10 / Website
Closest Relative: Tyketto
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 94%

  1. Bad Water
  2. Is That All There Is
  3. Healing Hands
  4. A Handful Of Rain
  5. Stone Monkey
  6. Shadowland
  7. Word For Word (Soldiers & Sailors On Riverside)
  8. Paradise Ain't Home
  9. Gandy Dancer
  10. The Voice

This is the long awaited vocal comeback from Tyketto's Danny Vaughn, plus a few familiar faces!
The guys stated they were not comfortable naming the band Tyketto without Brooke St James being a part of the line up. Sensible move that, but it might have also been intentional, as this is essentially not a Tyketto record. Naming the band Vaughn has given the guys the freedom to record and write however they felt without being constricted to the name and the past image of Tyketto.
Add to that the fact that some fans may be disappointed with the sound of this album had it been released under the Tyketto moniker.
Not to say that there are not several tracks that are influenced by the classic Tyketto sound, but the whole feel and style of the album is somewhat removed from the band we are know.
What we have with Vaughn is an all-new band to get to know. I think with an open mind and a set of ears that are willing to hear new sounds, fans of great quality song writing and classic American melodic rock will find a lot to like in Soldiers & Sailors On Riverside. It's a very classy and intelligent melodic rock record.
The album is a mix of several elements - both sounds and styles from the Tyketto days and new styles that the band have no doubt been influenced by in the time after the break up of Tyketto.
There is elements of Strength In Numbers and even some from Shine, but not as much from the bigger budget sound of the debut.
Vaughn is Danny Vaughn on vocals; Michael Clayton Arbeeny - drums, percussion, vocals; Jaimie Scott - bass Guitar; P.J. Zitarosa - guitars, vocals, percussion and Kyle Cummings - keys.
The album opens with a mysterious moody little intro into the track Bad Water. Danny Vaughn's brooding vocals lead the song into a fiery start, with the song blasting into a dark Led Zeppelin like feel. The chorus is subtle, but after a few listens becomes as catchy as any other on the album. There is a lot going on during this and many of the other albums on the album. Just listen to this chorus. There's an additional lead guitar break, big Zeppelin-ish keyboard effects and backing vocals too. Huge!
In a 180 degree style turn around, Is That All There Is is a high energy acoustic driven pop rocker with another killer chorus and once again, several layers of instrumental accompaniment. I love the mid-song detour and build to the final chorus. Some really classy acoustic and electric guitar playing and a more familiar vocal style from Danny.
Healing Hands is the third surprise is three tracks! This is a mature almost mid-west mid tempo rock song, but with a difference. The style is similar to Strength In Numbers - something like Catch My Fall - but the music is more intense. There's a more distorted guitar sound, a wonderful grand piano that takes center stage and brilliant gospel choir backing vocals.
A Handful Of Rain is the first ballad proper of the album. A very soulful vocal over an acoustic guitar lead into a full band, but all very laid back. The verse is more soulful again with an organ filling the sound wonderfully, (nice solo too!), and again several layers of instruments to negotiate.
There is something really cool about albums like this that are so well produced and mixed. It gives the listener something new to listen to each time you play it. It gives an album real depth and longevity.
Just as things were going along flawlessly, the tune Stone Monkey disrupts things a little. I think it doesn't fit in as well, being a full on funky number with a fast rapping vocal from Danny. I am not sure this will be one of the fans favourite, but it is different, there is no denying that and the quality of production is as solid as the rest of the album. Just not sure of the style!
But Shadowland follows straight after and this track is an instant classic. This will be one track the fans will instantly adopt as a new hard rocking live classic. This song could have easily been added to Strength In Numbers and is A grade American melodic hard rock. An instant chorus and about 5 layers of guitars and some really thumping bass!
In the vein of Healing Hands and Handful Of Rain, Word For Word (Soldiers & Sailors On Riverside) is another totally class filled mid tempo ballad. It goes back to that mid-western feel, with piano and acoustic guitar forming the foundations. The lead vocal through the verse is surprisingly fast moving and chorus feels a little more laid back. Cleaver song writing.
There's also a totally class piano solo, something which is a particular favourite of mine.
Paradise Ain't Home keeps things moving along at a brisk pace. This track is an acoustic pop rocker with a cool swagger and a little harmonica. The chorus is more Tyketto, but in a laid back, stripped down way.
Another left of center track is Gandy Dancer. With it's traditional Indian intro and bluesy feel, the song marks more new territory for the guys. Don't let the title worry you, the song is a fairly aggressive modern rocker.
The Voice is the track to end the album. It's a reflective, stripped back, mid tempo blues drenched rock song. Very mid western, but still very melodic. The organ is in full flight again on this rich textured song.
This is a very diverse album without being disruptive to the feel or the flow of the album as a whole.
BOTTOM LINE: Vaugn's debut album sees the guys take the best of what they were, adding it to their new influences, resulting in an album that is modern while retaining a classic rock feel.
First listen might see you with the opinion that it's a simple and straightforward album. But the beauty of this record is that with every listen there is more unfolding in front of you and it is on these repeat listens that the many melodies on the record become more familiar.
I think there's a chance some Tyketto fans won't get it, but the majority should view this album as a classic piece of AOR / melodic rock.
PRODUCTION: 95% SONGS: 93% VIBE: 92%ATTITUDE: 93%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All Danny Vaughn fans, most Tyketto fans and those into intelligent complex melodic rock.
DISCOGRAPHY:Tyketto - Don't Comes Easy . Strength In Numbers; Vaughn - Soldiers & Sailors On Riverside . Side projects - Flesh & Blood & Tyketto - Shine



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