American rock’n’roll troubadour Danny Vaughn has been there, seen that and sold the t-shirt at it throughout a career playing to big crowds as frontman of Waysted and Tyketto and smaller more, intimate shows most recently with fellow traveller Dan Reed. It’s a surprise then to both he and the audience when he admits at the opening of this run of solo shows that he’s feeling nervous.
Words: Ian Sutherland, Pictures: Mark Holloway
Having just released his first solo album in many years, an eclectic mixture of songs titled ‘Myths, Legend And Lies’, a solo acoustic tour suddenly seems to be a daunting challenge. He later admits to looking sideways and expecting to see his “follically challenged friend” beside him, but any such insecurities which dog even the most experienced musicians are soon put to rest.
Within a couple of songs the butterflies are gone and the talented and confident version of Danny Vaughn we all know is shining in the solo spotlight.
The music consists of a fair chunk of the new album, all well received by an attentive audience with the jaunty Irish lilt of ‘The Shadow Of King John’ and the bluesier, more measured tones of ‘Black Crow’ sounding particularly impressive. Alongside that there is an almost haphazard trawl through a mightily impressive back catalogue of tunes, from rarely played stuff from his From The Inside project to Tyketto tunes his fans know inside out.
Requests are taken and delivered with consummate ease in the classic hard rock style of Waysted’s ‘Heaven Tonight’ and a beautifully played ‘Seasons’ following an ever so polite shout out.
That famous voice is still there, seemingly unchanged from his mid-eighties start on the rock’n’roll road and all the notes are hit and stay hit which overshadows guitar playing which also deserves much respect in this format. Distilling songs down to one acoustic guitar isn’t easy and even a spontaneous cover of Supertramp’s ‘Give A Little Bit’ done on a six string rather then the twelve string it was designed for is made to look deceptively easy.
The presentaton is first class too. Vaughn is one of those frontmen who can talk to an audience in interesting and often humorous ways, so this format with added stories and anecdotes and explanations of the birth of songs suits his style perfectly. So much so that he loses track of time and is shocked to be told he’s already been on stage for nearly two hours when asking the time. It’s well over that when the obligatory run through of ‘Forever Young’ signals the end to a terrific night’s entertainment.
There may have been myths, legends and lies on stage tonight but the main thing to take away is that Danny Vaughn is making his own legend through a stellar career and those in the know and attending these intimate solo shows know they’re in for a rare treat. Catch him if you can.