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Nashville's Coolest Cat Kenny Vaughan to release V - 9/13

Sugar Hill Records is proud to announce the September 13th release of V, the long-awaited solo debut from Nashville’s not-so-secret weapon: Kenny Vaughan. Since first arriving in Music City in the late ‘80s from his home state of Colorado, Vaughan quickly set himself apart as a different breed of guitar-slinger—technically assured and, more importantly, armed with a deeply felt reverence for a wide range of musical traditions encompassing vintage country, classic pop, hard bop, and beyond. The ten tracks that comprise V dip toes in all of these waters, forming a handy crash course in the trademark wit, flash, and unfailing musicality that has kept Kenny Vaughan so in-demand for the past quarter-century.

Starting in 2001, Vaughan has been a member of Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives, a multi-faceted outfit capable of delivering anything from rollicking bluegrass to classic honky tonk to simmering gospel soul. Aside from one track featuring Vaughan’s Nashville-based organ trio, the Fabulous Superlatives back him throughout V, which opens with the show-stopping Superlatives rave-up “Country Music Got a Hold On Me” and continues through an eclectic program that touches upon western swing (“Hot Like That”), evocative low-twanging instrumentals (“Minuit Sur La Plage,” “Mysterium”), Rockpile-inflected country-pop (“Things I Do”), and even a bit of gutbucket swamp-funk featuring the Oak Ridge Boys (“Okolona, Tennessee”), before concluding with a righteous gospel shuffle, “Don’t Leave Home Without Jesus.”

Recipient of the 2006 Instrumentalist of the Year award from the Americana Music Association, Vaughan is one of the most prominent guitarists of today’s ongoing roots music renaissance. An early pupil of fellow Coloradoan (and fellow eclectic roots alchemist) Bill Frisell, Vaughan has since performed and recorded with an array acclaimed artists, including Lucinda Williams, Kim Richey, Rodney Crowell, Tim O’Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Elizabeth Cook, Greg Garing, and too many more to list. Equally comfortable on stage or in the studio, Vaughan can be relied upon for hot, twitchy country leads, bittersweet melodic jangle, and everything in between—all dispatched with the utmost taste and subtlety.

And, as V so aptly demonstrates, Kenny Vaughan is no slouch as a frontman, either. His songs and singing are charmingly conversational, with no shortage of memorable hooks and clever verbal volleys. His cohorts in the Fabulous Superlatives (including bossman Marty Stuart on guitar and mandolin) offer honest, road-tightened support that is honest and heartfelt. Sterling confirmation of the potential implied by each sideman gig, session, and walk-on, V may have been a little too long in arriving…but, after all, Kenny’s a busy guy.

Marty Nelson of the original Manhattan Transfer Returns to Performing

It has been more than thirty years since Marty Nelson has performed live.  He returned to the stage last month at Chico’s House of Jazz in Asbury Park, NJ.  His show “A Tribute to Sinatra, plus . . .?” is true to its name. Marty uses his favorite Sinatra hits as the core of his show, but adds many personal touches.

Marty explains how he started as a teenager with the original Manhattan Transfer (Capitol Records) and then went on to produce for Lifesong Records, and eventually became a New York City freelance studio singer.  He performed and recorded with artists that ranged from Frank Sinatra to The Village People to Leonard Bernstein.  He also sang on more than 1,000 national radio and TV commercials – and this is where the “plus . . .” of his show’s title comes into play. Marty was often asked to do solos on commercials that called for a Sinatra “sound,” and he not only gives the audience tasteful renditions of many classic pop/jazz songs, but he also sings some of his better known commercials.  (The audience really enjoyed hearing these memorable jingles.)

As the show develops, Marty reveals more of his creative side with original arrangements of “Black Magic” (based on the Billy Daniels hit) and a version of Minnie the Moocher that features an extended vocal scat where he takes the audience on an improvisational journey, touching on classic rock hits from the Beatles to Bruce Springsteen and more.  He peppers the show with stories about his experiences in the music business and even does an interactive segment with the audience where he brings a person onstage and does an impromptu scat lesson.

His energy is infectious and his intimate soulful ballad renditions draw you in (especially a marvelous version of “Send in the Clowns” where Marty performs it almost entirely with only stand-up Bass accompaniment).

If you are looking for a Sinatra sound-alike lounge review, you won’t get it here.  But if you want an evening of great music with a touch of fun, you’ll really enjoy Marty Nelson’s show.

Marty Stuart Pays Tribute to Traditional Country Music with New Album

RAMMY-winner and American music icon Marty Stuart is set to release a traditional country album GHOST TRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS) on August 24, 2010. With his 14th studio album, Stuart steadily continues to lead the charge in preserving the roots, culture and history of traditional country music.

“What inspires me now, is traditional country music,” says Stuart.  “It’s the music I most cherish, the culture in which I was raised.  It’s the bedrock upon which the empire of country music is built, the empowering force that provides this genre with lasting credibility.  It’s beyond trends and it’s timeless.  With all that being said, I found traditional country music to be on the verge of extinction.  It’s too precious to let slip away. I wanted to attempt to write a new chapter.”
That new chapter is GHOST TRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS) which includes such unmitigated country staples as the male-female duet (the gorgeous, heartfelt "I Run to You," written and sung with Connie Smith), the chugging, bluesy—and spooky— fellow Mississippian Jimmie Rodgers-like train song "Ghost Train Four-Oh-Ten," steel guitar driven, hardcore heartbreak ballads such as "A World Without You," and "Drifting Apart,” and a no-flinching directness is front and center in the premiere of “Hangman,” a pointed, harrowing tale of an executioner's job and life that Stuart co-wrote with Johnny Cash just four days before the Man in Black passed away.
As the album title denotes, GHOST TRAIN  (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS) was recorded in the legendary RCA Studio B in Nashville, where Stuart participated in his first-ever recording session at the age of 13 playing mandolin in Lester Flatt’s band.
“Studio B has a profound pedigree; it’s where so much of American music’s legacy was forged, certainly country music’s,” says Stuart.   “And sonically, this is a room that welcomes music.  It seemed to me that in order to authentically stage a brand new traditional country music record we should bring it back to the scene of the crime.”
GHOST TRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS) TRACK LIST:
  1. Branded
    (written by Marty Stuart)
  2. Country Boy Rock & Roll
    (written by Don Reno)
  3. Drifting Apart
    (written by Marty Stuart)
  4. Bridge Washed Out
    (written by Warner Mack)
  5. A World Without You
    (written by Marty Stuart and Connie Smith)
  6. Hummingbyrd
    (written by Marty Stuart)
  7. Hangman
    (written by Marty Stuart and Johnny Cash)
  8. Ghost Train Four-Oh-Ten
    (written by Marty Stuart)
  9. Hard Working Man
    (written by Marty Stuart)
  10. I Run To You
    (written by Marty Stuart and Connie Smith)
  11. Crazy Arms
    (written by Ralph E. Mooney and Charles P. Seals)
  12. Porter Wagoner’s Grave
    (written by Marty Stuart)
  13. Little Heartbreaker
    (written by Marty Stuart and Ralph E. Mooney)
  14. Mississippi Railroad Blues
    (written by Marty Stuart)