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Danny Vaughn
Traveller
Frontiers Records
2007
Melodic Hard Rock
Mark Balogh
www.dannyvaughn.com
www.myspace.com/vaughnband
Rating:
3.5 stars

The former TYKETTO main-man makes his triumphant return! But just how triumphant you might ask? Well, this album is being touted as the next best thing to Vaughn’s days in TYKETTO but I’m not so sure I’d go quite that far.

Truth is this is a pretty strong album as Danny Vaughn is a talented singer as well as songwriter but I find myself comparing this more to his post-TYKETTO offerings by the band simply called VAUGHN. That group released two albums on Z Records (UK) back in 2000 and 2001. “Traveller” in my opinion is much closer to that bands sound with the exception of the guitars which are maybe a bit more aggressive. Come to think of it that is most likely the reason for its comparisons by some to the TYKETTO days.

The record starts off with “Miracle Days” and this song sounds like it could have come from either of the aforementioned VAUGHN releases. It opens with some of the Native American sounds that Vaughn has incorporated into his more recent works. The song is well written and although it doesn’t have a traditional chorus it’s catchy and memorable.

“Badlands Rain” brings back some of that TYKETTO sound. The guitars are heavier and the song sounds like it could have been a leftover from the 2nd TYKETTO release “Strength in Numbers.”

The third track on the album, “Traveller,” brings us back to the VAUGHN band sound. The song is extremely catchy and melodic. Vaughn’s vocals are always stellar and melodic and they really shine on this track!

The following song, “Restless Blood” continues with the Vaughn sound and again the song is melodic with a memorable chorus. I mentioned earlier that Vaughn is a talented songwriter and its tracks like these (this particular song is a Vaughn/Tony Marshall (guitars) co-write) that make that clearly evident.

“That’s What She Says” is an acoustic-tinged song that features some clever and funny lyrics. At just 2:51 in length the track makes its point and quickly exits!

“The Touch of Your Hand” is the first ballad featured on the album. Vaughn and TYKETTO have always penned some great slow numbers and this song sits comfortably alongside other ballads like “End of the Summer Days” and “Standing Alone” from the TYKETTO era.

“Lifted” is a strong track with a catchy hook and sing-a-long chorus. It’s a co-write between Vaughn and Charlie Calv (ex-SHOTGUN SYMPHONY). The song is again more in the VAUGHN sound but overall it’s just a great track. It starts out in a mellow fashion but builds in pace to a true melodic AOR gem! Vaughn’s melodic singing style is all over this one and the band behind him completes the song flawlessly. Extra points are given for the melodic and anthem-like guitars supplied by Pat Heath and Tony Marshall.

“The Warrior’s Day” kicks in big time with a heavy guitar riff yet remains pretty melodic, never steering far from the VAUGHN and TYKETTO sound. Vaughn’s vocals are a bit “tougher” sounding almost comparable to his days in WAYTSED.

“The Measure of a Man” is a straight-ahead rock song. It’s fairly paint-by-numbers but still it’s melodic and catchy due to Vaughn’s vocals.

“Think of Me in the Fall” is the albums second ballad. Again it’s a class affair and flawlessly performed by Vaughn and the band. It’s extremely mellow and “quiet” but the lyrics are great and very poignant.

“Death of the Tiger” is a mid-paced track. Not extremely memorable but not necessarily bad either. The album is rounded out with “Better By Far.” It’s an acoustic-based track and even though it’s a mellow song it’s a great way to end the album. I have to say I really like the lyric ‘…Better by far when the currency of life is the counting of friends/Better by far to be loving the journey then to live for the end…’ It kind of sums up the album title doesn’t it???

Like I said earlier in this review this album is much closer to Vaughn’s post-TYKETTO band VAUGHN. In my opinion it’s not the return to the TYKETTO era that some have talked about but it is another strong record from Danny Vaughn. This guy is too talented a songwriter and singer not to put out quality work. Obviously if you’re a fan of TYKETTO and Vaughn’s voice then this is a must own. If you’re not familiar with Vaughn and his work but you like melodic rock and AOR then I’d recommend this release. Then I might ask you what rock you’ve been under if you haven’t heard of Danny Vaughn and/or TYKETTO!


Band Lineup:
  • Danny Vaughn - Lead vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin, keyboards
  • Tony Marshall - Guitars, backing vocals
  • Pat Heath - guitars
  • Steve McKenna - bass
  • Lee Morris - drums & percussion
  • Johnny Larsen - keyboards (tracks 1,4,7,10, 11), backing vocals (track 4)
  • Pete Coleman - keyboards (track 1)

 

Track Listing:
  1. Miracle Days
  2. Badlands Rain
  3. Traveller
  4. Restless Blood
  5. That’s What She Says
  6. The Touch Of Your Hand
  7. Lifted
  8. The Warrior’s Way
  9. The Measure Of A Man
  10. Think Of Me In The Fall
  11. Death Of The Tiger
  12. Better By Far

 

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