New & Slightly Used
This album by West Virginia singer-songwriter Scott Vaughan epitomizes the concept of 'do-it-yourself.' Performing a majority of the instrumental and vocal parts himself, Scott draws influence from a full library of flavors past and present and urges others to do the same. It could easily be said that this album features at least something for everyone, if not more than that. The backing vocals are at times reminiscent of early Elton John (on the piano piece 'Christmas No More'). 'Miss You Right Now' serves up James Taylor-esque acoustic guitar with Oasis-like 'ahh's' for backing. And the quirky '11:17' shows more than a mild touch of Tom Waits influence and tongue-in-cheek lyrical puns a la John Prine or John Lennon. By the way, one need look no further than the unmistakable Beatle chord which ends 'Katarina Brown' to find evidence of his idolatry of the lads from Liverpool. Through all of these nods to ghosts of music past, Vaughan makes no pretense that he is the first to be doing any of the things he is doing. Rather, these brief departures serve to show off his vast 'ongoing homework,' as he puts it, and a sensibility at reusing ideas that have proven to be effective. The recordings are often rural, sometimes funky (dig 'T-Shirt'!), and other times stripped-down and subtle in their attack. With it's 70-plus minutes of playing time, New & Slightly Used is no 'quantity over quality' effort. Here is a full course meal with leftovers. And it comes from a new songwriter who possesses an ironic musical mix of both youth and experience.