Half Notes: Tim Vaughn – Read Between the Lines (2011)

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Asked to describe this new album, Canadian guitarist Tim Vaughn said: “It’s like Prince, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Radiohead all met Los Lobos at a bar in “From Dusk Til’ Dawn,” and Jack White was playing there with Elvis Costello.” Thing is, as knee-slappingly over-the-top as that all sounds, Vaughn is kind of right about Read Between the Lines. The record has this mercurial ability to confound, as it at times sounds like a troubadour songwriter’s notebook, at others like a string-breaking guitar-god workout, at still others like an R&B set at a clap-trap southside dive. The foundation of it all, it seems, is the blues, but strapped to a wagon-wheel of finger-licking riffs, greasy funk, plaintive folkie lyrics and bird-flipping punk attitude. Yet, Vaughn — whose soulful then crisply energizing asides on the guitar are the wooden spoon stirring this crazy pot of musical gumbo — somehow makes it all work.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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