Vaughan’s Top 10 Tracks of 2014


2014 Has been a good year for new rock music so I thought I’d share my favourite releases with you, which you might also like if you’re a fan of Tidal. Here goes…

10. DOWN – ‘We Knew Him Well’

When I heard Down were putting out four EPs in quick succession instead of an LP every 5+ years as they have previously, I thought “Awesome! More Down, less waiting!”… however its still taking a good 18 months between releases! Anyway, upon hearing this first single from the second EP, I really wasn’t sure it had met my high expectations but having let the southern riffs seep into my head, its won me over in big style! Turn it up loud and your house will shed all its plaster, I speak from experience… Its worth it though.

9. Foo Fighters – ‘Something From Nothing’

As with number 10, I only gave this one half a chance to begin with. I heard the song on the radio and switched it over after about a minute thinking “Davey boy isn’t putting much effort in, weak”. Having watched great ‘Sonic Highways’ documentary though, hearing the lyrics relating to the history of Chicago and its music, it carried more interest and led me to THE SECOND HALF!! It takes off like a space bound rocket and then you realise that ol’ Davey boy was saving himself for later! Even if you don’t like Foo Fighters music, I’d recommend watching the documentaries as they give a great insight into the music scenes of some of the key cities of american music.

8. Robert Plant – ‘Little Maggie’

This song brings a bit of a change in genre, Robert Plant and the Led Zeppelin have always been partial to a bit of world music (check this epic version of Kashmir out!). This fine example also represents one of rocks living legends performing at Glastonbury, the festival which has seen more dabbling in rock over the past few years with Metallica and The Rolling Stones making appearances. There just seems to be something hypnotic about this song and it reminds me a bit of Willows song from ‘The Wicker Man’ which is great British cult horror classic.

7. California Breed – ‘Midnight Oil’

From the ashes of Black Country Communion arose California Breed, with Mr Hughes and Mr Bonham keeping their rhythm partnership together but shifting to even older school fuzzy retro vibe. I love the groove, blazing hard rock vocals, the fuzz-tastic tones, the female backing singers and the bloodline Bonham drum solo at the end. There aren’t many bands like this these days so pave the way lads.

6. Black Stone Cherry – ‘Me and Mary Jane’

Memories of the summer come flooding back, feeling merry at Download Festival with the boys, going hell for leather singing along. Black Stone Cherry have a knack for writing songs you can sing along to having never heard them before, the crowd was screaming! Seeing them at the Cardiff Motorpoint in October playing a full headline show makes you realise how many classics they have for a young band, mixing chunky riffs like this one with southern ballads, they are the new Lynyrd Skynyrd.

5. Joe Bonamassa – ‘Oh Beautiful!’

Had to include Joe as he’s one of the best guitarists out there. His presence on the Download bill probably surprised a lot of people but being the Bonna-fanatic I am I had to do some backflips with excitement (in my head). He took to the stage with a faint drone behind him and he walked up to the mic and started singing this new song almost acapella…then out of the drone emerges this massive octaved riff.  This song has a very unique structure and he deserves to and likely will be remembered as one of the greats.

4. Royal Blood – ‘Figure It Out’

Royal Blood have taken the world by absolute storm, from being nowhere to securing US/UK tours with the Foo Fighters…that’s good going. Again, I saw these at Download this year, sacrificing seeing Rival Sons which I’d getting excited for upon good recommendation from the boys… but I am glad I did. Seeing a band on their way up in the tent is something we probably won’t be able to do for much longer. Most of the time two pieces lack the third element but these boys pulverised everything. HUGE SOUNDS from layered octave pedals is clearly working beautifully. This song is showcases that and their song writing genius. Try putting this on in your car, it makes me feel like I own the road!

3. Slash – ‘Bent to Fly’

Slash is probably the most recognisable guitar player in the world and has a very unique style in how he loves a guitar melody and to bend to the notes he wants which, when played over beautiful chord progressions as with a multitude of G’n’R songs, it carries so much weight. Slash’s current band is the perfect match for him this with Myles Kennedy providing emotive vocals like he means every word and Todd Kerns hitting the high harmonies in his sleep. I had this song on loop for weeks and this live performance really shows off their talents.

2. Mastodon – ‘The Motherload’

These guys are the pioneers of metal at the moment. They just seem to do things that no one else does or can do. All four of them are some of the best musicians around and they never look like they are struggling with the stupidly complex music they create. This video caused a bit of a stir as well and made me laugh out loud in the psychedelic sequence. The weirdness they pursue is a breath of fresh air…in my excitement at their show in Bristol, I bought a very weird t-shirt from the merch stand…think woman from Total Recall mixed with a rattlesnake!

1. Rival Sons – ‘Open My Eyes’

At number 1 is this band who are taking over my life! Rival Sons capture Led Zeppelin vibes so well and the singer is the best thing since the wheel! This acoustic version of ‘Keep on Swinging’ from their previous album I think is the definition of perfect. He delivers a spellbinding performance on all levels. This song though is so catchy and what rock classic rock should be, in fact the whole album ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ shows light & shade, power and fragility like a don’t know anyone else can these days.


Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed this quick walk through some of the highlights of 2014. Has this list opened up any doors for you? Please do feel free to reply with your top songs or songs you think I’ve missed from my list. I love music and want to hear as much as I can!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year all,


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Vaughan’s Top 5 Guitarists


These five guys all have very unique qualities but all of which have a strand of something running through them that has struck a chord in me (no pun intended), and how I approach the guitar…

5) Jimmy Page



Jimmy Page probably makes the top 5 of most guitarists. His playing has influenced so many guitarists during Zeppelins era and even now in modern music, yet his playing is still so unique and unrivalled by anyone. Led Zeppelin have such a diverse range of songs from heavy riff driven songs like ‘Black Dog’ to the acoustic masterpieces like ‘The Battle of Evermore’, and their both found on the same album (I haven’t even mentioned Stairway to Heaven… Ah well I have now).

He triggered my expensive love for Gibson Les Pauls (along with Mr Wylde) so here he is performing ‘Ramble On’ from Led Zeppelin II

4) Tony Iommi


This guy created the sound of heavy rock music through a bit of bad luck! On his last day of work at a factory before quitting to be a full time musician, the ends of two of his fretting hand fingers were chopped off! Since that day he’s created his own fingertips with melted bottle tops and some leather for grip. In turn he then started tuning down his guitar to make the strings easier to bend.

What I love about Tony Iommi is the huge riffs that he brings to the table then goes off on one on jazz solos a laSabbath Bloody Sabbath‘.

The song below ‘Dirty Women’, is the live version from 1978 but it’s definitely worth checking out the studio version from 1976s Technical Ecstasy to witness his dual solos fighting each other to take centre stage. There is one note in there that gives me goosebumps every time!

3) David Gilmour


I’ve got be honest in that I haven’t really got into Sid Barrett era Pink Floyd but albums after Dai Gilmour got involved really grab my attention. You try listening to Dark Side Of The Moon with the lights off, you see things…crazy things…

Engineers/Producers Andy Francis & Phil Humphreys at Boneyard Studio created a bit of that vibe during the tracking of our song ‘Rain Dance’. The lights went of, the room lit by nothing but the power lights of the Orange & Marshall heads along with two gothic looking candle lamps…they cranked up the volume & the reverb… and then pressed record. Good times.

David Gilmour is Mr Feel. The song below ‘Shine on Your Crazy Diamond Part I-V’ is the proof…

2) Dimebag Darrell


My teenage years were pretty much dominated by Metallica, Down, COC, Alice In Chains and this guy in Pantera. I’m not sure anyone has ever played with the groove this guy had before his tragic on stage shooting in 2004.

I remember schoolmate Ainsley calling me up, panic in this voice “Vaughan, Dimes been shot!”. I didn’t believe him “Vaughan he has, check BBC news!” So I scrambled to the telly and to my horror he wasn’t lying. It was like a bit of our world died!

He plays some mental groovy technical licks like on ‘Cowboys From Hell’ & ‘Revolution Is My Name’ but it’s all still rooted in blues scales. As you’ve probably guessed the theme here, it’s full of emotion and feel!

I’d say that ‘Cemetery Gates’ is probably one of my favourite solos ever, but the solo & outro to the song below ‘Floods’ really is outstanding…

1) Joe Bonamassa


This guy is immense. He played with BB King when he was 12, grew up on Free, Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple and has absorbed everything worthy of remembering from pretty much everybody.

He can play anything fom his blues/rock/folk solo work, classic/hard rock in Black Country Communion, funk in side project Rock Candy Funk Party… the list goes on…

Oh and his sound is incredible! Have a listen to Black Lung Heartachefor a glimpse of diversity in a single song. Very bluesy and stripped back then….SMASH with a killer guitar sound…. I also need to mention his guitar sound… ‘The Ballad Of John Henry’, it’s COLLOSAL.
Ooooooo as you can probably tell I like this guy.

Here’s a live version of ‘Dust Bowl’ demonstrating the feel he conjures up over some of his more mellow songs. This guy is awesome.

So there we have it. Lewis and Wilkes are putting their lists together so get involved tell us who inspires you on your instrument and why! 👍

Over and out,


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May Bank holiday takeover



What an absolutely #wompin weekend.

Friday – Kingsfest
We kicked it off with the trek up to Llanidloes for the annual Kingsfest event, now it’s ninth year. This, from what I can remember, is our fifth visit back to the festival, each year working our way up the bill so this year we were delighted to headline the Friday night. This really is a truly brilliant festival run and attended by people who really do love their music. To most people it seems like a little town smack dab in the middle of Wales but as soon as the tent goes up…mayhem! It gets proper messy too. It’s easier to count the number of times Lewis hasn’t spewed. Seriously.

Having caught great sets by both The Callout and The Kryptics, the daylight died and I could feel something was on the way! We cranked the amps up to 12, my guitar screaming impatiently….1,2,3,4, dun, dah…Caged Bird set free.

We played for a full hour to a packed tent playing songs off the album as well as 3/4 new songs, including my favourite song at the moment Cut The Wire. We were even joined by local legend ‘Sponge’ for old Tidal classic OTT.

Moshing, singing, screaming, shouting, dancing… the festival go-ers did it all. It seemed like they knew the words better than me!

Thanks to Garth Stephens for offering us the headline slot, and thanks to everyone for the support. Having been up there as a four piece for years it was great to talk to people and hear that the three piece has kept all the balls we had before, and even managed to grow more.


Sunday – Bulletfest
With a days recovery we then ventured up to Abersychan to play a set at Bulletfest, a charity festival raising money for Clapa – Cleft Lip & Palette. We were invited onto the bill having played with Deathbullet at a show in Weston Super Mare last year. Suffice to say that venue housed some of the heaviest bands we’ve played with. Desalvo were like 90s New Orleans sludge, I drooled for 30 mins over the Gibson Black beauty on the hands of Electric Furnace guitarist, then it was our turn…

…so we layed it down! Given the audience we used what we call the “heavy set”. No letting up for air at all. Seemed weird just playing a 30 min set after recent shows, over in a flash. Maybe we just thrashed it up by playing all our songs at 230bpm.

Black Light Machine provided some epic soundscapes of steel, like a terminator soundtrack or something. Then Deathbullet smashed it. Between the Mesa half stack and the Orange bass rig it was #phat. Hats off to Paul for organising another amazing event, all in the name of charity.


Amazing weekend, a pleasure to be part of two such great festivals and it’s great to be back playing again. The three of us are having a BLAST!

Over and out,


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It’s good to be back…



I’ve got be honest, whilst practice every week is great fun, nothing really beats setting up your gear in a venue and going hammer and tongs.

Valve amps really do purr like a v12 in a more open space where you can turn it up a little more (unlike practice rooms where a more confined space means the sound waves rattle around like billions of pinballs off all the walls). My jeans were flapping round like a flag in a storm standing in front of my faithful cab. If we didn’t have a show to perform I could quite happil just played the D chord we started our set with and let it ring for the full hour. Probably would have been just me that enjoyed that though. It’s been over 5 months since our previous live show so it’s good to be reunited with the beast.

The Swans4Cancer was a great event organised by good people investing their time, managing to sell out the show and raise over £1000 for Cancer research. Hats off to Mark & Crissy Christansen.

Anyway next show is the headline slot on the Friday night at Kingsfest. If you haven’t been before your missing out.

I. Can. Not. Wait.

Over & out,


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