Andy Vaughan & The Driveline
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Andy Vaughan & The Driveline

Richmond, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
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"Andy Vaughan & The Driveline- Searching For The Song"

The Richmond, Virginia band
Andy Vaughan And The Driveline
have been together less than two
years and are already on their
second album release. Funded
through the increasingly popular
Kickstarter, Searching For The
Song shows them maturing nicely
as a band and with increasing
depth to their roadhouse honky
tonk style as they move away
slightly from the Buck inspired
offerings on their debut towards
a more rounded sound a bit more
like BR549.
But the Bakersfield style
shuffles are still there, thanks in a
large part to the lead guitar work
of Jerry Renshaw, especially in
the opening One More Teardrop,
and there’s a whole heap of of
twang to Movin’ On.
The autobiographical title track,
in which Vaughn suggests that he
can only write heartache songs
(such as the excellent One Good
Day and honky tonkin’ Hello
Misery) and “can never find that
song” has actually written the
perfect bit of melody and rhyme
for which he is searching in this
very number.
Swing That Hammer Down is
a terrific swinging little number,
Giggle And A Wiggle is a fun
honky tonker on which Renshaw
takes the lead vocals (as he
also does on Caught On The
Fence) all about pearl snap
shirts, peroxide hair and various
other desirable attributes in a
woman. Standout track however,
is the Mariachi trumpet introed I
Don’t Care, which almost moves
into Mavericks territory with its
insistent accordion.
The CD closes with a very
Waylon-esque Don’t Tell Me
I Ain’t Country. I liked what it
was saying, it is delivered with
passion, and I’ll bet that it makes
for a terrific show closer, but at
five and half minutes did overstay
its welcome a little.
When I reviewed their last
album, just over a year ago, I
alluded to the fact that it was
early days for this band, and
they showed much promise. For
their second outing they are no
doubt still finding themselves
and refining their sound but have
taken huge steps in creating their
“own” sound while still staying
true to their honky tonk roots.
Hugely enjoyable. - Country Music People


"Andy Vaughan & The Driveline ar "Searching For The Song""

One of the banes of the music writer is when you find music you like, but you just don’t know what to say about it. What’s even worse is when people assume that one of the reasons you’ve said nothing about an artist or album is because you don’t like it. Andy Vaughan and The Driveline‘s first album Long Gone was one of those albums: good, but hard to find words for. Seeing them at The White Horse in Austin, TX earlier this year was not much help either. Only with Searching For The Song have I been able to find the words.

There’s so much music these days vying for everyone’s attention, it is almost imperative that you employ some sort of “bit” to get noticed: a distinctive singing style, a blending of genres, humor, irony, etc. How about just sincerity in craft, and good songwriting? Why can’t that get noticed too? After all, in music these days, that’s pretty rare itself, and those attributes are what Andy Vaughan puts into play in Searching For The Song.

If Andy Vaughn was searching for some great songs for this album, he certainly found them. And if you are searching for great songs, look no further. Take “I Believe In Cowboys” for example, about holding on to the faith and wonder of youth, even as the world pushes its acrimony and bitterness down your throat. The way the song articulates its positivity, and then is structured so perfectly to turn defeatist but doesn’t is a mad stroke of songwriting genius and marvelously-refreshing in such a cynical world. Counterbalancing this is the despondent, but equally-witty song “I Don’t Care”.

Songs like “One More Teardrop”, “Movin’ On”, “Hello Misery”, and “One Good Day” are just good old-fashioned country songs of heartbreak, but this album isn’t all gloom. “Swing That Hammer Down” and “Giggle & A Wiggle” add some lightheartedness and fun to the project, giving Searching For The Song great balance.

And let’s give some props to The Driveline as well, especially steel guitar player Slim Stanton, and Andy’s right hand man and lead guitar player Jerry Renshaw who wrote “Giggle & A Wiggle” and co-wrote “Caught On The Fence” with Andy.

If I had to name a best song, I might go with the aforementioned “I Believe In Cowboys”, or the “Searching For The Song” title track where Andy gets right down to the heart of the matter, and articulates the theme of this album and the underlying issue with artists like him that are struggling in the shadows, chasing a dream that unfortunately is all to unrealistic, yet they can’t stop believing in and pursuing despite knowing better.

The final track “Don’t Tell Me I Ain’t Country” is a good song, it just seemed a little out of Andy’s element (though artists should be afforded a little latitude on a last track). And as much as I want to chagrin music bits, and as much as I like Searching for the Song, I do think that Andy’s music is still “searching” for something that can better help define him and delineate his music from the crowd. But at the same time, that is what’s cool about Searching For The Song, because that is what the theme of this album is about.

With JP Harris, Eric Strickland, and now Andy Vaughan & The Driveline, 2012 has seen a solid crop of no frills, real deal, old school country music albums. If those albums spoke to you, this one will too. - Saving Country Music


"Andy Vaughan & The Driveline: Searching For The Song"

Highly competent, widely varied, intriguingly nuanced stone cold country and Texas border music from the heart of Richmond, VA? Come again? This makes no sense. The geography’s all wrong. But the songs are just right. So maybe it does make sense. Somehow. Hell, just turn it up. Pop a top and figure it out later. Or let it come of its own accord, as the case may be, because, son, it surely will.

What we’ve got here is the sophomore release from Andy Vaughan and the Driveline. Unless you lived in North Carolina back around the turn of the century and were one of the twelve or so people who ever fell in love with Hobart Willis and the Back Forty, you’ve really never heard anything quite like this. If maybe not quite album of the year material, it’s still some of the coolest stuff you’re ever going to hear. Stick around for a sec, I’ll get up on a high horse and tell you why.

For starters, Vaughan and company understand traditional country music and the way it resonates down deep in the bones. I mean they inherently feel it in their marrow. Not just the form and meter and rhyme, although those are fine. Not the steel guitar crying in the night, even though it surely does so here in ways that would break the coldest senorita’s heart. No, there’s something else going on with the Driveline. And while it’s not entirely clear from this second outing whether they’ll ever quite find the song they’re searching for, there’s no question that most of the ones they’ve run across thus far are standout keepers.

You can eyeball a track like “I Don’t Care” as the time honored Exhibit A. Leads off with a trumpet followed by an accordion riff from the deified hands of Slim Stanton that’ll have you swearing on your Corona Light that you’re in a border town with some muchachos muy malo. Of course said muchachos will laugh at you for drinking Corona Light, but that’s another story. Regardless, this comes across as the real thing. That squeezebox sticks around throughout the song and sets a mariachi tone that isn’t gonna be denied. Hell, the trumpet hangs around, too. The first few times through the accompaniment can talk you into missing the heartbroke and lovelorn lyric if you’re not careful about how you pay attention. S’ok, though. You can always hit repeat and cue it up again. And you will.

After your little lesson in just how much it turns out Richmond knows about enchiladas and such, it’s Bakersfield time with “Caught On the Fence.” Easy to hum along with this one just convinced as all get out you’re listening to a cover from old Buck or somesuch. But nope. It’s pure dee original, the real thing, served straight up and brutally beautiful. Same goes for “Swing That Hammer Down,” long as you substitute for Bob Wills for Buck Owens and come prepared to get your Cowtown on. It’s a gem for the dosey doe set and would absolutely fit in wafting across the bricks of Exchange St. on a Saturday night in Texas.

But it’s perhaps on the title cut where the rubber meets the road. This one’s got flavors from some of the greats, but it’s original sounding in the end and genuinely autobiographical as hell. Lays out the ins and outs and vagaries and mysteries and heartbreaks and joys of doggedly pursuing the Muse. How one gets sucked into writing for one crowd, wakes up, tries writing for another. Goes a different route, and then, one day, like Saul on the road to Damascus, sees the light and begins writing for oneself. It’s an interesting take on what’s becoming a bit of a threadbare topic, and it’s genuinely worth the listen.

There are surprises on Searching For The Song, including the toe tapping and goofily invigorating “Giggle And A Wiggle,” a throwaway bar tune that’ll have you singing out loud in traffic for at least a week after you first hear it. Funny, engaging, easy charm… these are qualities that too often get lost in the scuffle between mainstream country’s calculated tugs on the heartstrings and the independent artist world’s ardent fight to be relevant and mature. It’s not the best song you’ll ever hear. Doesn’t for a second pretend to be. But it’s, well, it’s just damned cool.

On the flip side, when Vaughan and the boys get serious, they go full out in a manner that could be construed as a bit over the top and maudlin in a Rawhide or Bonanza sense. It’s a cut called “I Believe In Cowboys,” and it’s overflowing with the nostalgia inherent in that opening scene from The Andy Griffith Show where Andy and Opie are walking to the fishing hole. Or those scenes in The Big Valley where the boys are thundering across the prairie and Barbara Stanwyck is smiling with the sort of majestic beauty one rarely sees anymore. It’s got all of that, cheese factor included, and yet… there’s a substance underlying all of it that gets at the heart of the myriad ways our modern world no longer reveres the man who will stand against the odds. There’s an unexpected power here, an evocative translation of timeless truths that this age we inhabit could stand to relearn and then cherish once again.

Top to bottom, a genuinely engaging and entertaining and enjoyable record. No sophomore slump in sight. Perhaps Vaughan and company continue to search for the song. Thankfully they’re sharing the ones they find along the way. What’s here plays in effect like a live set, the way the night would go if they were in your town helping sell your favorite venue’s beer. But it’s not mere entertainment. There’s something material in the curves, and the promise inherent in these songs is nowhere near as fleeting as the lies a Wonderbra can tell in a haze of neon and smoke. Pull the cover off Searching For The Song and you don’t wind up disappointed, boys. It delivers even more than you thought. - Outlaw Magazine


Discography

"Long Gone" (2011)
"Searching For The Song" (2012)
"Sinners And Saints"  (coming June 2014)

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Bio

Andy Vaughan & the Driveline play country music the way it should be played- with dedication, heart, soul, and above all, authenticity. There is nothing contrived or disingenuous about what they do. Drawing both from the outlaw twang of their fathers and the Western swing of their grandfathers, they are a rare beacon of sincerity in the country music landscape.

The inspiration comes from the mind and soul of Andy Vaughan. He writes songs of heartbreak and struggle that inevitably suggest redemption. Whether singing about love, loss, or good times and bad, there is no doubt that this music comes straight from the heart. The original lyrics aim to grab you and the melody will stick with you, long after you've left the bar.

Andy's great voice and rhythm guitar are grounded by a solid, experienced rhythm section Erik Kutzler on bass and Chip Farnsworth on drums. Slim Stanton can both pick the Nashville whine and chord the Texas swing on his steel guitar in addition to strapping on his accordion a few times each night, and guitarist Ray Fralin adds the Telecaster twang that gives this music its color. Additionally, each member sings harmony vocals, a Driveline signature.

Since forming in late 2010 the group has released two critically-acclaimed albums, "Long Gone" (2011) and "Searching For The Song" (2012). Their third album, "Sinners And Saints", is slated for release in the summer of 2014. Fans have also warmed to the band via their energetic stage presence, with constant gigging around Virginia and the East Coast, as well as multiple extended tours of the Eastern US. And in June of 2012, they achieved hometown hero status in Richmond, VA when they were voted "Best Richmond Country Band" by readers of Style Magazine.

Band Members