Vaughan King is a part of a roots-imbued folkish movement bringing madrigalian airs crosscut with Jack Kerouac and chamber sensibilities into the modern era, maintaining a stateliness that's quasi-psychedelic for its mutated edges and preservation of elder virtues. Everything slips and slides in Ballad of a Poor Man, especially the guitar lines, but with elegant grace amid waltzing strings and slowly evolving melodies. King's voice is recessed and echoed slightly, a palpable ghost passing through scenarios, perplexed, agog, stunned, worshipful. Many elements are strongly kindred to what Chris Riffle (here) is doing—very down-tone but seductively so, brimming with understated sophistication, a twilight passage from decadence to modern anachronism.
I suspect that what we are witnessing in such discs as Vaughan's is the subsidence of the punk era as its rage and rebellion fade into maturity, and inhabitants and outsiders begin to cognize the true shape of the world, a bit shaken by what's really happening, ready to assume their place. The fact is shown in the gilten edges and brocade surrounding his songs, rich in luster, tarnished from experience, and aching in the worldly sadness of life lived but redeemed through raw intelligence chastened into a wisdom cognizant of its limits. The only criticizable aspect of this release is the fact that it's only an EP, a 4-song preview of things to come that leaves the listener pining for much much more, and I, for one, await that eagerly. Whatever follows this is going to be monstrously good.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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