For those who study album liner notes, Kenny Vaughan's name is a very familiar one in country circles. While he's most recently made a name for himself as the guitarist in Marty Stuart's Fabulous Superlatives, he's been providing hot guitar solos in Nashville for several years now. Aside from a vocal turn on a Johnny Cash tribute album, Vaughan has mostly let his guitar do the talking up to now. With "V" he steps up from a sideman to a bandleader with his solo record debut.
The album was recorded with the Fabulous Superlatives - Stuart on guitar and mandolin, Harry Stinson on drums and Paul Martin on bass. While a few songs, such as Country Music Got a Hold on Me sound like they could have come from a Stuart release, others have a distinct Buck Owens (Stay Outta My Dreams) or BR5-49 (Hot Like That, featuring BR5-49'er Chris Scruggs on steel guitar) sound. Like Stuart did with his recent "Ghost Train" release, Vaughan is doing his part to keep the classic country sound alive and well.
"V" clocks in at just a shade over 30 minutes in length, so there's no time for any dramatic balladry here. A heavy, serious song would have been out of place anyway. Aside from a couple of moody instrumentals, Vaughan keeps things moving at a fast and fun pace. He even makes the most out of special guests The Oak Ridge on Okolona Tennessee, which sounds like it could have been the funky follow-up to Elvira.
Considering country music is currently dominated by dramatic pop-country tunes and aggressive redneck Southern rock anthems, Vaughan serves up a nice reminder that country can also just be about entertaining listeners. "V" doesn't have any grand designs beyond providing some cute songs and good guitar playing, and it delivers on all counts.