Ray Vaughn’s newest album may be called “Wounded Bird”, but he’s really more of a phoenix rising from the ashes of a forgotten San Francisco. He founded Punk/Art Rock band Hostages in 1979, and later Die Bossanova in 1984, leaving his mark on the then-thriving SF scene until disappearing from the public eye in 1992. Now, over 20 years later, Ray has returned as someone tempered by time and experience–with new stories to tell.
With his new release, Ray’s back to his prolific tricks on his second solo album, “Wounded Bird”. Both producer Michael Rosen and Ed Rawlings returned to the project, and new additions include James DePrato (Chuck Prophet) on electric, slide and acoustic guitars, baritone guitar, dobro and mandolin, Kevin T White (Chuck Prophet) on bass, and Prairie Prince (The Tubes, Todd Rundgren) on drums. A response and extension to “Way Down Low”, “Wounded Bird” features eight powerful tracks that leave the audience in a cathartic and contemplative state–wondering where Ray Vaughn has been for all these years?
Ray Vaughn’s presence has never gone unnoticed. Before founding Hostages, he spent six years in England–first in London and later in Birmingham–soaking up the in-your-face punk rock ethos of the mid 1970s until his ultimate return to his native San Francisco. In the early ‘80s BAM Magazine described Ray’s lead vocals while performing with Hostages as “powerful and crisp” adding that “he sang with deliberate emphasis on the lyrics, which were decidedly political… moving onstage much like a Jellyfish with rhythmic jerks and a smooth underlying sexuality in his vocal tones and in his eyes.”
Ray Vaughn marked his return to music in 2013 with his first full length solo album, “Way Down Low”, teaming up with Grammy Award-winning producer Michael Rosen (Tesla/Rancid/Papa Roach), former Hostage member Ed Rawlings, drummer Michael Urbano (Smash Mouth, Third Eye Blind, John Hiatt, Cracker, Paul Westerberg and Sheryl Crow), ex-Die Bossa Nova bassist Stephen Winkle, and keyboardist Phil Bennett (The Starship) on Hammond B3. A personal exploration of a life hard-lived, the album brings forth echoes of Ray’s punk rock past while looking forward to the world he’s yet to encounter. A review of the album on Critical Jazz reported, “if that singer / songwriter vibe is what you dig, Ray Vaughn is easily the best kept secret in music today” and a review by AJ Garcia on Shakefire noted that “the album just reads like a well thought out book of shorts from someone who’s not only lived, but understood their plight every step of the way”.