That was before today’s focus artist showed up on iTunes this weekend: Vaughn Trapp
There are very few artists who can pay homage to a musical influence, sprinkling melodic and stylistic references, yet remain fresh and original in their own right.
Vaughn Trapp manages to do just that.
The melodies are gorgeous, belying the bittersweet political anguish beneath. The retro influences provide a musical framework and historical reference point. But it is fresh enough not to be weighed down by the burden of that reference.
There is a clear lineage to The Beatles — both middle year Lennon McCartney tunes, and latter day George Harrison arrangements are a major influence on many of the cuts here.
These beautifully written and arranged songs stand on their own, apart from their lineage and influences. It is impossible to listen to "Mr. Hurricane" and not think of George Harrison; "Almost Gone" is reminiscent of John Lennon on Revolver; "Doin’ the 911" channels Rubber Soul, complete with George Harrison on guitar. Its high praise indeed to say that some of these songs could have been penned by The Beatles in some alternative universe.
Not only does the the work stand on its own musically, but it is relevant to today’s current events. Delve into the lyrics, and you discover an artist deeply moved by what has happened politically in the United States. Much of the musical community has been fairly low key, for instance, about the circumstances of the the Iraq war. At least, when compared to what happened during Viet Nam.
That’s beginning to change now– see Michael Franti and Spearhead’s Yell Fire as a prime example. Vaughn Trapp is another instance of musicians finding their muse in disappointment in political leadership. The incompetence and corruption produce a melancholy and sense of loss on Amerika that is palpable throughout the recording.
My favorite cuts are:
Open Your Eyes
Doin’ the 911
You can sample the songs at My Space
Download the CD at iTunes