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WOODSTOCK - Sometimes something
good can come out of a tragedy.
For Bill Vaughan and his wife, Laurel, their
firsthand witnessing of the 9/11 terrorist
attacks in New York City brought on a
period of self-reflection, and ultimately
recharged each one's creativity.
Vaughan, an economist by day and
musician at heart, will soon release his first
solo CD, "Songs From the Valley," an ode
to places, people, feelings and other things
he has experienced since moving to
Woodstock in 2005. His wife, who worked
for years as a graphic designer, is now able
to devote all of her time to painting.
Sitting on his living room couch recently,
Vaughan recounted the day of Sept. 11,
2001.
He and his wife were in New York for a
business conference and were staying in
the Marriott at the World Trade Center, he
said.
"It was the last day of the conference ... we
were in the building when the thing
happened," Vaughan said.
After the first plane struck the north tower,
Vaughan said they heard the noise and felt
the building shake. His wife saw debris
falling. They thought maybe it was some
sort of construction accident. They went out
into the street, where they were when the
second plane hit, he said. Then they just
started walking.
Posted at 12:00 AM Dec. 16, 2010 | Updated: 5:08 PM Dec. 15, 2010 0 0
View larger image
Bill Vaughan, of Woodstock, plays a digital keyboard
that he had retrofitted into an old piano he bought at
a local yard sale. Vaughan, an economist for Prince
William County, is releasing his first solo CD called
“Songs From the Valley.” Rich Cooley/Daily
Valley inspiration: Woodstock musician draws from area for first CD - Lifestyle/Valley Scene Page 1 of 4
http://www.nvdaily.com/lifestyle/2010/12/valley-inspiration-woodstock-musician-draws-from-ar... 12/16/2010
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"We were eight or nine blocks away when
the towers came down," Vaughan said.
The Vaughans were able to get a cab and
made it to the home of some relatives who
lived in New York. Luckily, he said, they
also made it out of the city the next day.
"That [experience] had a lot to do with the
art that came afterwards," Vaughan said of
both himself and his wife. "The feeling, the
need to create was heightened after that."
Although he has written hundred of songs
over the years, Vaughan said he chose not
to write about that day when putting his
new CD together.
"I did not want to make money off that
experience," he said.
The couple were living in Manassas at the
time, and Vaughan still works as the chief
economist and demographer for Prince
William County. They bought a cabin in Mt.
Jackson in 2004 and came out on
weekends or whenever they felt the need
to get away and enjoy the "peace and
beauty," he said. "And we were really quite
captivated by [the area], and we decided
this is where we wanted to live."
The move allowed his wife to work full time
as a creative artist, Vaughan said, adding
that she's "quite gifted."
As for Vaughan, returning to music was like
reconnecting with an old friend.
"I was a full-time musician before I was
working for the county," he said.
Born and raised in Maryland, Vaughan said
he studied piano and guitar and also
played other instruments, like the trumpet,
while growing up. He never took voice
lessons, however. He said that just came
naturally.
Vaughan began working as a full-time
musician in the '70s and '80s -- singing,
playing piano and always writing songs, he
said. He has been a lead singer in various
bands, as well as played the piano or
keyboards, and has recorded and
performed with musicians such as Hank
Snow, Doug Wray, Conway Twitty, Roberta
Flack and Brenda Lee.
During the '80s, he went solo and played in piano bars, on cruise ships and even a train.
"I played on the Montrealer, a train that ran [overnight] from Union Station to Montreal," Vaughan
said. "I had some tough jobs and some good ones. I spent a summer on a cruise ship out in the
ocean.
"Then we had children and I decided I needed to be a responsible dad."
Vaughan went back to school at George Mason, earning his master's degree while still playing gigs
at night.
"In the early '90s I didn't play as much, and I didn't have to," he said. "I was focused on family and
work more."
Then came 9/11, and the move to Woodstock four years afterward.
"I don't know how you can live out here and not be creative," Vaughan said. "It's easier to be
creative here, and it's encouraged."
Samples from “Songs
From the Valley”
Audio: Listen to a sample of Cantaloupe Pie
Audio: Listen to a sample of Daughter of the Stars
Audio: Listen to a sample of Lowly Way
View larger image
Vaughan, who has been inspired to write more
music since moving to Woodstock five years ago,
plays the piano at his home.
Valley inspiration: Woodstock musician draws from area for first CD - Lifestyle/Valley Scene Page 2 of 4
http://www.nvdaily.com/lifestyle/2010/12/valley-inspiration-woodstock-musician-draws-from-ar... 12/16/2010
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Name| Dec 16, 2010 10:38 AM
Although Vaughan had written hundreds of songs, he said most were just melodies. "The lyrics and
themes were more difficult.
"I wanted songs that had a story to them."
Living in Shenandoah County, the stories began to emerge. Lyrics for most of the CD's 13 songs
were put to music that Vaughan had written years before.
There's a song on the CD called "Cantaloupe Pie," which is about a pie Vaughan had at Candy's
Diner in Woodstock after first moving to the area. Another song, called "A Lowly Way," came from
an area Civil War story abut a young boy who was hunting in the woods during the war when some
Union soldiers caught him, brought him back to town and hanged him for being outdoors with a gun.
A song called "Where the Highway Meets the Sky" is about Vaughan driving back home from
Woodbridge during his commute and seeing the mountains from Interstate 66 at Linden.
Then there's "Oh Virginia," the only song on the CD with no vocals.
"I wanted this song to have a tenderness to it, a gentleness," Vaughan said. "I've had the melody for
40 years. It was waiting for something."
The genre of the music on "Songs From the Valley" is difficult to categorize because there have
been a lot of different musical influences -- rock, soul, blues, country and even some classical -- in
Vaughan's life. He lists The Beatles, The Band, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and The Rolling Stones
among those influences, "so all of that I think probably comes through [on the new CD]," he said.
But there's also a country influence, which Vaughan said wasn't intentional.
"When I listen to it, it has a strong country sound," he said. "I don't know why."
The CD has been a year and a half in the making, and brings together some of Vaughan's old band
mates. Local musician Amanda Wilkins also sings on a few tracks.
Vaughan said he expects to release the CD next month, and people will be able to buy it at
Woodstock Cafe & Shoppes in Woodstock and King Street Art Works in Strasburg. He also is
developing a website. Vaughan said he will likely have a CD-release party sometime near the end of
January as well.
Meanwhile, people can hear him and his band play at the Woodstock Cafe & Shoppes on New
Year's Eve, when they will perform mostly cover tunes and dance songs, he said.
Vaughan said as much fun as it's been to make "Songs From the Valley," he's ready to move on to
the next one, as more songs are coming together.
"I've been a musician all my life," he said. "But I don't think I was able to really do it until we came
out here."
And while he has no plans to quit his day job just yet, Vaughan said he will always be a musician
first.
"I'm a good economist ... but [music] is my love," he said. "I consider myself a musician before
anything else. It's my true love."

WOODSTOCK - Sometimes somethinggood can come out of a tragedy.For Bill Vaughan and his wife, Laurel, theirfirsthand witnessing of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City brought on a period of self-reflection, and ultimately recharged each one's creativity.

Vaughan, an economist by day and musician at heart, will soon release his first solo CD, "Songs From the Valley," an ode to places, people, feelings and other things he has experienced since moving toWoodstock in 2005. His wife, who worked for years as a graphic designer, is now able to devote all of her time to painting.  Sitting on his living room couch recently, Vaughan recounted the day of Sept. 11,2001.  He and his wife were in New York for a business conference and were staying in the Marriott at the World Trade Center, he said.  "It was the last day of the conference ... we were in the building when the thing happened," Vaughan said.  After the first plane struck the north tower, Vaughan said they heard the noise and felt the building shake. His wife saw debris falling. They thought maybe it was some sort of construction accident. They went out into the street, where they were when the second plane hit, he said. Then they just started walking.   Vaughan, an economist for Prince William County, is releasing his first solo CD called “Songs From the Valley.”

"We were eight or nine blocks away when the towers came down," Vaughan said.The Vaughans were able to get a cab and made it to the home of some relatives who lived in New York. Luckily, he said, they also made it out of the city the next day.  "That [experience] had a lot to do with the art that came afterwards," Vaughan said of both himself and his wife. "The feeling, the need to create was heightened after that.  "Although he has written hundred of songs over the years, Vaughan said he chose not to write about that day when putting his new CD together.  "I did not want to make money off that experience," he said.  The couple were living in Manassas at the time, and Vaughan still works as the chief economist and demographer for Prince William County. They bought a cabin in Mt. Jackson in 2004 and came out on weekends or whenever they felt the need to get away and enjoy the "peace and beauty," he said. "And we were really quite captivated by [the area], and we decided this is where we wanted to live. "

The move allowed his wife to work full time as a creative artist, Vaughan said, adding that she's "quite gifted."  As for Vaughan, returning to music was like reconnecting with an old friend.  "I was a full-time musician before I was working for the county," he said.  Born and raised in Maryland, Vaughan said he studied piano and guitar and also played other instruments, like the trumpet, while growing up.  He never took voice lessons, however. He said that just came naturally.  Vaughan began working as a full-time musician in the '70s and '80s -- singing, playing piano and always writing songs, he said. He has been a lead singer in various bands, as well as played the piano or  keyboards, and has recorded and performed with musicians such as Hank Snow, Doug Wray, Conway Twitty, Roberta Flack and Brenda Lee.

During the '80s, he went solo and played in piano bars, on cruise ships and even a train.  "I played on the Montrealer, a train that ran [overnight] from Union Station to Montreal," Vaughan said. "I had some tough jobs and some good ones. I spent a summer on a cruise ship out in the ocean. "Then we had children and I decided I needed to be a responsible dad."  Vaughan went back to school at George Mason, earning his master's degree while still playing gigs at night.  "In the early '90s I didn't play as much, and I didn't have to," he said. "I was focused on family and work more.  "Then came 9/11, and the move to Woodstock four years afterward.  "I don't know how you can live out here and not be creative," Vaughan said. "It's easier to be creative here, and it's encouraged."

Although Vaughan had written hundreds of songs, he said most were just melodies. "The lyrics and themes were more difficult.  "I wanted songs that had a story to them."  Living in Shenandoah County, the stories began to emerge. Lyrics for most of the CD's 13 songs were put to music that Vaughan had written years before.  There's a song on the CD called "Cantaloupe Pie," which is about a pie Vaughan had at Candy's Diner in Woodstock after first moving to the area. Another song, called "A Lowly Way," came from an area Civil War story abut a young boy who was hunting in the woods during the war when some Union soldiers caught him, brought him back to town and hanged him for being outdoors with a gun.  A song called "Where the Highway Meets the Sky" is about Vaughan driving back home from Woodbridge during his commute and seeing the mountains from Interstate 66 at Linden.  Then there's "Oh Virginia," the only song on the CD with no vocals.  "I wanted this song to have a tenderness to it, a gentleness," Vaughan said. "I've had the melody for 40 years. It was waiting for something."

The genre of the music on "Songs From the Valley" is difficult to categorize because there have been a lot of different musical influences -- rock, soul, blues, country and even some classical -- in Vaughan's life. He lists The Beatles, The Band, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and The Rolling Stones among those influences, "so all of that I think probably comes through [on the new CD]," he said.  But there's also a country influence, which Vaughan said wasn't intentional.  "When I listen to it, it has a strong country sound," he said. "I don't know why."

The CD has been a year and a half in the making, and brings together some of Vaughan's old bandmates. Local musician Amanda Wilkins also sings on a few tracks.  Vaughan said he expects to release the CD next month, and people will be able to buy it at Woodstock Cafe & Shoppes in Woodstock and King Street Art Works in Strasburg. He also is developing a website. Vaughan said he will likely have a CD-release party sometime near the end of January as well. Meanwhile, people can hear him and his band play at the Woodstock Cafe & Shoppes on New Year's Eve, when they will perform mostly cover tunes and dance songs, he said.  Vaughan said as much fun as it's been to make "Songs From the Valley," he's ready to move on to the next one, as more songs are coming together.  "I've been a musician all my life," he said. "But I don't think I was able to really do it until we cameout here."  And while he has no plans to quit his day job just yet, Vaughan said he will always be a musician first."I'm a good economist ... but [music] is my love," he said. "I consider myself a musician before anything else. It's my true love."

 

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