Stoll Vaughan
Gig Seeker Pro

Stoll Vaughan

Lexington, Kentucky, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1998 | SELF

Lexington, Kentucky, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1998
Solo Americana Folk




"Stoll Vaughan Channels Bob Dylan in His New Single "Weather In Kentucky""

Stoll Vaughan Channels Bob Dylan in His New Single “Weather in Kentucky”

Just seconds into Stoll Vaughan’s new single, “Weather in Kentucky,” it becomes clear that the Los Angeles singer-songwriter and guitarist is a serious Bob Dylan devotee. There’s the doleful harmonica; the croak and timber of his voice; the disarming folk guitar; and that Dylanesque sense of imagining something just beyond one’s grasp. (The track calls to mind Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate,” in particular.)

“Footsteps against dead leaves is all that I can hear / This open field, the cool breeze, and change is already here,” Vaughan sings in the first verse. He couches a bleak relationship assessment in meteorological metaphors: “Snow falls on the pines and softly finds its place / covers up the way you feel until it melts away / maybe we never knew each other until it was torn down / but the dream of us getting back together is colder than the ground.”

The track’s title is plucked from a bruising line in the chorus: “If you asked me right now I’d tell you I’m better off today / But like the weather in Kentucky, in a moment that could change.”

“‘Weather in Kentucky’ came to me when I was walking my family farm in Kentucky,” Vaughan tells American Songwriter. “The feelings of the changing seasons are embedded in my memory. My brother was going through a divorce at the time and was living on the farm. This shift in his life had brought us back together and closer. I just felt like I was inside his heart and wanted to say it gets better. Also there is a saying in Kentucky that if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it will change.”

“Weather in Kentucky”–premiering today on American Songwriter with an accompanying video–is the soulful lead single off Vaughan’s forthcoming album, Desires Shape. Vaughan returned to his native Kentucky to shoot the video, which has the same bare-bones quality that Vaughan set out to achieve, musically, on Desires Shape as a whole.

“The video is me walking that farm with my dogs,” says Vaughan of the production. “It was shot in December. It was 65 degrees and raining. It definitely captured the truth about the Kentucky weather. The simplicity of the video also fits with the approach I had with the record. I wanted to convey a realism of who I am as a songwriter and performer so I was conscious of keeping the recording process simple.”

Vaughan wrote Desires Shape in between touring stints last year, inspired by the places he visited.

“I was really busy last year writing for the new Allman Betts record and also supporting my [2018] record The Conversation,” Vaughan explains. “When I would get back to California from touring I would sit down in the studio and work out these ideas. The themes of Desires Shape are based in the landscapes and experiences in my travels in that year.”

Desires Shape is Vaughan’s fourth solo album following The Conversation, 2006’s Love Like A Mule, and 2005’s Hold On Thru Sleep & Dreams. Recorded at Los Angeles’ Pacific View Studio and co-produced by Vaughan and Effie Dozier, the record sees Vaughan embracing a stripped-down approach.

“I have always been in love with records from the Smithsonian Folkways, John Fahey, Bruce’s ‘Nebraska,’ but [I] found it difficult to be so direct in the recording process,” says Vaughan, who tracked all the songs on Desires Shape in his Los Angeles home. “We have so many tools at our disposal now, that making records becomes an exercise in addition. There is nothing wrong with ‘flushing’ out recordings but I had become very comfortable with my songs and voice. This allows me to be in a place of commitment and allow the song to be the dominant factor of the record.”

Desires Shape is out April 17 via Commonwealth Artist. Catch Vaughan supporting The Allman Betts Band on their upcoming Southern Tour:
April 23 – Cleveland, MS – Bologna Performing Arts Center
April 26 – Cape Coral, FL – Dixie Roadhouse
April 29 – Jackson, MS – Duling Hall
May 05 – Walhalla, SC – Walhalla Performing Arts
May 14 – Baton Rouge, LA – Manship Theater
May 18 – Huntsville, AL – Mars Music Hall
May 19 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theater
May 20 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
May 23 – McMinnville, TN – Cumberland Caverns - American Songwriter

"Stoll Vaughan Desires Shape"


Commonwealth (CD)
* * * * *

Singer-songwriter Stoll Vaughan has an interesting background. He is a formally trained musician who began his professional career in a punk band called Chamberlain. He joined them while working for John Mellencamp guitarist Mike Wanchic's recording studio - the location where he cut his last effort, The Conversation. He has been a collaborator and Svengali to Duane Betts and Devon Allman during the recording of their debut record. Both Allman and Betts credit him with guiding the creative process and for helping them "keep it all together" on the road. He has released three solo records and that music has made its way into the soundtracks of television series like True Blood and Friday Night Lights. And if all of that wasn't enough he guest lectures at The University of Montana on artist development and heads up A & R at CUT records. Simply put, he's got a lot on his plate for someone you've likely never heard of before.

The first play through his fourth studio record, Desires Shape, was immediately followed by four more. The music is acoustic, and he is occasional joined by a see-sawed harmonica or a gentle piano. But for the most part it's just Stoll Vaughan and his guitar. The music is a bit hypnotic as it seems to quietly shut out almost everything else around you. His voice is earnest but never overplayed. Maybe that's what makes the entire package so stunning. The songs aren't upbeat or bright. Instead they are largely songs about characters that have already given up and, if they haven't, are pretty sure their end is near. In that sense it reminds me quite a big of Bruce Springsteen's album Nebraska - especially on the song "So Righteous." But it's more melodic in an almost Drew Holcomb way. The pitch of his voice is fairly similar to Drew Holcomb's as well, particularly on the track "Rosie."

Comparisons can be made to Bob Dylan and that can be heard on some track like “Entertained," where his vocal range tightens and his tone moves nasal. That's where the likeness to Dylan ends. Instead better parallels can be drawn to Mellencamp. There the structure of the storytelling and the cadence of the chord progression is more akin to everything from commercial outings like American Fool to Plain Spoken. The early Wanchic influence seems pretty evident and has developed nicely over time.

To no surprise the song that is hard to forget is "Weather in Kentucky" - the first single. It kind of pulls everything together that Stoll Vaughan does so well. The writing is razor sharp, the playing is steady, and the arrangement is full without being flashy. In a slight ode to his home state, Stoll builds a story about a love that's been lost, was never meant to really be, and is a regular target of some of his spoken ire. As firm as his character's conviction may seem it's a lot "like the weather in Kentucky" and could "change on a dime." As sad as this song may be, it's hard not to smile at Vaughan's wry lyrical approach.

This is a brilliant record that won't likely get the attention it properly deserves. There's not much of a market or outlet for music this personal and stories this gripping. But the music he has been making really has taken a "Shape" that is impossible to ignore. Like the weather in Kentucky, things just may shift quickly for Vaughan. This record should right do just that.

- Ray Chelstowski - Goldmine Magazine

"Stoll Vaughan Desires Shape"

I find it amazing that is has been over a year since I had the pleasure of discovering the prolific artist Stoll Vaughan on his The Conversation album. The sounds of his voice, the guitar playing, and the impact that this man makes with his music are significant.

On April 17, 2020, the new album Desires Shape will arrive. The one thing you can hear and view is the first single from the album “Weather In Kentucky.” (video and stream provided here)

Stoll Vaughan does it again with memorable vocals, guitar, harmonica, and thinking man’s unforgettable lyrics. This is superlative Americana music at just the right pace and timing in each song. When you look at the stark cover, you can see one serious artist with his well worn acoustic six-string. It is the tool of his craft that leads to stories you will find hard to forget.

In “Back Together” Stoll sings “Everything is made to put it back together, then you will know it like never before.” Told like a true storyteller and artisan. I felt that line carried tremendous weight, it could be what the singer carries or what directly relates to you personally. Or is it suitable for our times living in a real-life science fiction movie with a killer virus spreading across the globe, isolating people, shutting down businesses and collapsing economies? Heavy words indeed, and punctuated by a strong emotive voice that carries each word straight to your heart and soul. The words could fit just about any situation but I found the timing impeccable today as I listen and think about the day that just passed.

Side one closes with “Entertained” with some smokin’ hot acoustic slide and the refrain “Hey Hey Mama” immediately becomes acknowledged with every fiber of your being. That is how Stoll rolls, he sings and plays for a purpose and every song has a meaning to decipher. The music just takes it all to the next level for the listener.

Opening side two is “So Righteous” with a clear message. Stoll sings “Now ain’t the time to act so righteous, stand our ground or get in the way, you and I know we might be different, but right now we’re all to blame.” How true those words are in this divided country of politics, beliefs, and ideals. It is not just the politicians in Washington, we are all to blame for taking sides, standing our ground and not finding common ground. I must say what I am witnessing right now is a remarkable turnaround as we all come together to fight this virus as our state governments and world leaders, are all in the same boat traveling down the same river. It takes a catastrophe to make us come together.

That is a radical event and it forced a paradigm shift but you cannot deny our strength and resilience right now. When the chips are down, we are one. And ironically after saying all that the next track is a nice instrumental titled “Will of Man.” No words needed; the title says it all. It is a nice departure from the vocal tracks and gives you an idea of the talent this man has as a musician. I must reiterate though he is the complete artisan with several talents merging to get the result.

The music hits me right between the eyes. It forces me to reevaluate everything as I focus in on this amazing breadth of work presenting itself on beautiful vinyl. The music of Stoll Vaughan was made to be heard on an LP. And sorry, no download card, you have to grab the album give it a spin and listen, then get up off your arse and flip it over if you don’t have a turntable with the auto-return arm. All of that is just fine with this listener. This music is incredibly good and worth all the experiences it brings with it.

Desires Shape is another masterpiece from Stoll Vaughan, one of the best Americana artists recording today.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-TFOV Founder
March 19, 2020 - The Final On Vinyl

"Stoll Vaughan, Desires Shape"

Stoll Vaughan, Desire’s Shape. It sure sounds like the shape of singer-songwriter Stoll Vaughan’s latest desire is to go as far inside himself as possible, see what he finds there and then write songs that speak to those deepest discoveries. This is an album of soulful purity, one that lets Vaughan not get distracted by anything. It’s all just Vaughan, his 1946 Martin 000-18 acoustic guitar and piano. The level of directness on songs like “Weather in Kentucky” and “So Righteous” are near-chilling. It sounds like the man has confronted things inside which cause him to take stock in how far he’s come and how far he still has to go. The Kentucky musician has had a road case full of experiences, writing and touring with a wealth of well-known artists, but this time out Vaughan strips it down to just himself. The best news is that it feels like he’s entered a brand new level, and opened himself to the world of possibilities which comes with finding out you already have everything you need. Set him free. - Americana Highways/ Bentley's Bandstand

"Stoll Vaughan releases compelling Desires Shape"



Stoll Vaughan’s warm, inviting voice wraps around a listener like the presence of a much-loved, cherished friend and confidant. Its tone is imbued and worn by life’s experiences, revealing someone who’s bruised but not broken, still aching but OK. Sometimes.

The Kentucky native’s music is stripped down, rooted in the country/folk/blues fusion we call Americana. It swells majestically when saturated with Vaughan’s storyteller’s voice, which rings with yearning and passion. The poetic lyrics reveal truths gained from experience; at times, recalling Joni Mitchell’s intimacy and lyrical incisiveness and Loretta Lynn’s plain-spoken directness. His delivery has also the truth-telling conviction that typified Johnny Cash’s best work. It’s like we’re eavesdropping on a man’s conversations, his internal dialogue and struggles or reading an emotionally raw diary that cuts through the BS, right to the bone of his truth.

On his recently-released fourth album, Desires Shape (Commonwealth Artist), Vaughan captures the I’m OK/I’m not OK reality of a breakup, nowhere more believably than on the bone-chilling “Weather in Kentucky”: Snow falls on the pines/And softly finds its place/Covers up the way you feel/Until it melts away. And there’s this: The good things that we are/Always carry on/So when I think of you here’s the truth/I’m glad that you’ve been gone.

Happiness is something to be fought for … it is not without struggle. On “Put It Back Together,” a couple comes back from the brink: Failure drives the driven man/To face the things he doesn’t understand. Making the effort to understand bears insight: You put it back together/And you will love like you have never loved before.

Perhaps the album’s finest song, “So Righteous,” speaks of love as it touches the bigger picture of social/political realities: Born together we’ve been torn apart/Something must break just to change our hearts/River’s rising and it won’t be long/The dam is weak and we’ll be dead and gone.

There’s a depth of intelligence in the writing and the singing that should touch anyone who loves great songwriting. Vaughan is in a rarefied class of writers, including John Prine, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard and Mitchell. Maybe Fiona Apple, too. It is the work of a man who apparently has studied himself and his actions/reactions and, clear-eyed, recognizes there’s still work to be done as he navigates the sometimes rocky emotional landscapes of relationships with lovers, friends and himself. This all plays out in a simple setting of guitar, piano and harmonica that supports the singer and his songs beautifully. His struggles can feel like our own.

You may not have heard of Vaughan, but he has toured with John Mellencamp, James McMurtry and Marty Stuart; his music has been featured on TV series including True Blood, Friday Night Lights and The Office. Vaughan has also worked with the Allman Betts Band on their debut album and its forthcoming follow-up.

According to his website, Vaughan says his new album’s title is about “being in a continual conversation regarding people, God, and the fears we carry around — and how music interplays with everything emotionally and spiritually.”

All that plays well on Desires Shape’s remarkable songs and Vaughan’s magnetic voice. This is an album to savor and study and experience again and again.

Ellis Widner
Sunday Style Editor
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

"Goldmine Quick Picks"

Here’s an L.A. singer-songwriter originally from Kentucky
with verve, daring, vigor and an acuity of vision. One can
lose one’s self in his thought-provoking lyrics while grooving
to his instant old-friend voice. Like Mining Dylan lines for
golden meanings, in “Roll On,” Vaughan writes of “dreams
behind me, dreams ahead/to be broke down in the middle/I
would rather be dead." - Mike Greenblatt

"The Conversation Album Review"

Included on this brilliant new album are backing musicians such as Mike’s Mellencamp bandmate's Andy York on guitar, drummer Dane Clark and keyboardist Troye Kinnett, on tracks produced by Wanchic. Tracks produced by Broemel, you will hear Broemel himself along with MMJ bandmate Tom Blankenship on bass for 'Own The World.'

From the off, the vocal journeyman showcases what's to come on the splendidly atmospheric Americana cut 'Roll On' ("The road is shorter the further we go. Can't find answers to questions we don't know") and backs that up seamlessly with an acoustic live version of 'I Was All Alone' - my personal favorite on this quite stunning new album.

'Forgiveness' ("I've got voices in my head, that get me up and out of bed ... I've got ghosts here in my way, yeah, they haunt me every day") is next and then Side A comes to a close with the upbeat, jangle guitar work of another acoustic live cut, 'Low Down.'

'Bear Witness' kicks off Side B perfectly, and keeps all that's great about Vaughan's songwriting skills embedded throughout, and that's backed by 'Good Love.' A delicate, deep reaching moment of storytelling, it captures the essence of a great songwriter at his finest.

My second favorite track here is the beautiful roll-on flow of 'In My Arms,' an Americana ballad of the highest order. This second side then comes to a close with the gentle, tenderly acoustic guitar and vocal work of musical wonderment, 'Own The World.'

The Conversation via Digital Download includes these extra tracks: 'Further Down The Line, featured in the film The Open Road, 'Hurt No More,' 'Weatherman,' 'Change,' and 'Meet You In The Middle,' heard on the finale of hit TV series The Office.

This is a Limited Edition Blue and White 12" Starburst Vinyl out via All Welcome Records and was released on June 29th, 2018. The vinyl LP also contains a Digital Download link. - Russell Trunck's Exclusive Magazine

"The Conversation Album Review"

Stoll Vaughan, The Conversation. Folk music twists and turns in endless permutations, but at its core it is a person and their song standing up to the world. It's easy to add on instrumentation to underscore its strength, but it comes back to the artist writing their words and then singing them. Stoll Vaughan has been walking the folk road for 20 years, and has come to the spot where it now all adds up. His new album was recorded in two Nashvilles—Indiana and Tennessee—by two different guitarists. In Indiana, Vaughan worked with John Mellencamp co-producer and guitarist Mike Wanchic and in Tennessee with My Morning Jacket's Carl Broemel. Both sessions yielded the kind of songs that feel like they will be around a long time, moving listeners to use them as something to hold on to and hopefully make sense of what can sometimes be the senseless. People are that way: what starts out as a spark-filled affair doesn't always last long. And when it does there's often enough confusion to go around. That's why Stoll Vaughan songs like "Forgiveness," "Bear Witness," and "I Was All Alone" carry a sense of permanence. They come from a hard-earned understanding of what adults are capable of, but also offer a guiding hand to healing. Vaughan has had his music in television shows and in movies, as well as on best-selling album charts. Now it's time for when it moves into a place where folk music lives best: inside the human heart. Hurt no more. - Morton Report/Bentley's Bandstand

"Our Need For Music"

Listening and hearing are two different things. Hearing is more about perception, as in some driver’s car horn asserting a right of way in traffic, or a dog barking in the distance; the crowd at a football game or a food vendor hawking the best sand- wich this side of anywhere. Listening is entirely different. It’s the idea that you give your awareness to the sound, taking notice, turning your head, paying attention; you begin a journey with comprehension and (hopefully) arrive at enjoyment. The difference between hearing and listening is why I ended up working in the music business for so many years.
Once heard, a great song, a great recording is not forgotten. It isn’t the ear-worm of a bad (and likely annoying) advertising jingle, but rather an emotional connection to something that connects with and within us. Twenty years ago a group of neuroscientists (in Nature Neuroscience, 1999) posited that
“Music has an extraordinary ability to evoke powerful emotions. This ability is particularly intriguing because, unlike most other stimuli that evoke emotion, such as smell, taste or facial expression, music has no obvious intrinsic biological or survival value.”
All that being said, I don’t need a neuroscientist to tell me
when a great record is playing. My brain (and heart) tell me that in seconds, or even fractions of seconds.
Art is personal. Accept, for the moment, that radio is always playing to an audience of one. Radio programmers are often taught to think and perform that way: talk on the radio as if you're speaking to just one person. Whether the station has thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of listeners, the audience is always an audi- ence of one: you, me, her, him. Even when two or three of us are trapped together in a car on California’s roads or highways, most of the time if one member of the group says “did you hear that”, the likely response from the other passengers is “huh? Hear what?” That’s why I love radio. It’s personal.
Some six weeks ago I was returning to the Mendocino Coast from the San Francisco Bay area. As I got somewhere north of Marin County I pushed the button on my car radio for KRSH, The Krush. It’s a predominantly Americana station situated in the middle one of the most famous wine-regions of the world: Napa and Sonoma counties. Hence, KRSH (crush, as in grapes....) The midday host was about to begin interviewing a recording artist, singer/songwriter, and as she introduced her guest I wasn’t certain I heard the name, but the interview was worth the listen. At some point she told her audience she wanted to play a cut from the new album by Stan, or Steve, or Stu. I wasn’t certain just what his name was, but when the music started I re- ally didn’t care about his name. The track was “Forgiveness” and for the next 3 1/2 minutes I was only about this amazing song with haunting lyrics.
"I got voices in my head
Get me up and out of bed
I’ve been busted and I’ve been burned
My heart is beating but you know it hurts
And I can tell you every name
But that will never change anything
I ain’t saying I’ll forget it
Or their wrongs will ever be right
We’re just talking about forgiveness
And how it gives you back your life."

So simple. Whatever the hurt, forgive, and that forgiveness will give you back your life. The bridge in the song reminds us (particularly those of us who’ve been married for more than a few years) that
"I know it’s never easy
Being torn apart
Forgive to be forgiven, It will open up your heart."

As happens to many of us, I assume—because I know it happens to me—I couldn’t get enough of this song, this recording. Arriving home in Mendocino County I immediately tried to figure out just who was this guy on the radio. Some internet surfing, including a look at the KRSH website and, voila!, I had his name: Stoll Vaughan. Like any music lover bordering-on-groupie, a couple of weeks later I had a phone conversation with Stoll. First, it’s pronounced “stall”, not “stole”. (Stoll is a family name.) He’s from Kentucky and now calls Los Angeles home. “Forgiveness" is not his first song, and The Conversation is not his first album. As the saying goes, this is not his first rodeo. Stoll’s Kentucky origin didn’t surprise me, as all those years having traveled to and through Nashville (not to mention the film project I did with the Bluegrass Music Association some 20+ years ago) immersed me in con- versations with the sounds of a rural and cosmopolitan mid-south gentleness. He’s had education at Michigan’s Interlochen
Boarding High School—one of the single best possible schools for an arts-oriented teenager. The Conversation was recorded back near Stoll’s home turf, using studios in Indiana and Nashville, with help from players like Duane Betts (son of Allman Brothers alum Dickey Betts), and Devon Allman (son of the late Gregg Allman), producer Carl Broemel and others.
Stoll’s album has more than one cut, by the way. There are 13 tracks offering a listening experience just under an hour. “Bear Witness” “Weatherman”, “Meet You In The Middle” confirm his authenticity as a solid songwriter. And happily, like I experienced in my glory days in the music industry, it only takes one track to get someone’s attention, and then, like a good deed done to you, you’re duty-bound to pass it on. We no longer have hundreds of Top-40 radio stations, helping break an artist. Today we have to help music along, by passing the knowledge in conversation, in email, and through social media. If you frequent a bar with live music, let the owner know about your discovery. I’m passing “Forgiveness” on to you so that you can discover Stoll Vaughan for yourself. While you're at it, take credit for his success too. Stoll won't mind and neither will I. - Lighthouse Peddler/ David Steffen

"Stoll Vaughan Is Not Afraid Of Writing Big Truths, Proves It On “So Righteous”"

Now ain’t the time to act so righteous
Stand your ground or get in. the way
You and I, we might be different
But right now, you know we’re all to blame
— “So Righteous”

Stoll Vaughan is parked somewhere on the side of the road, in an RV with his wife and his dog. The populist songwriter, a secret weapon for both David Lynch and the Allman Betts Band, is thinking about the state of the world, the way disinformation is ripping us apart and the fact that the truth gets so twisted by the soundbites and talking heads. It’s hard to know where to turn, especially when you’re a particularly porous creator.

At times evoking Springsteen’s Nebraska period, Townes Van Zandt at his most gaunt or the Jeff Buckley of Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, the literal and figurative journeyman artist has a way of tumbling details from the rafters and highlighting sentiments often missed. Hemingway direct lyrically, his melodies leave room for listeners to install themselves.

“So Righteous,” from Desires Shape, wasn’t written during the pandemic, but ongoing political realities were the match to its kindling. With a ragged voice, Vaughan isn’t afraid of the big truths.

Up in the air, blowing like the leaves
In between the chaos and what we’ve seen
No way out and nowhere to hide
Only choice is that you don’t decide
Born together, we’ve been torn apart
Something must break just to change our hearts…
— “So Righteous’

The video, debuting exclusively on, is equally straightforward. Black and white, looking like a young T-Bone Burnett in sunglasses, pleated pants, a dark shirt, he plays acoustic guitar, emphasizing the beat with his wedding ring. Preternatually cool, Vaughan just is. No explanation, no setting, just a man, a guitar and a song for the ages – and the moment.

“I’m kind of always meditating on the other dimension,” he says, watching the day drain from the sky. “I want to recognize the pain, but really I’m trying to highlight the hope.”

An hour or more has melted since the conversation began. Born in Kentucky, sent to the acclaimed arts school Interlochen in Michigan and then heading West to the promise of California, the discussion flowed through Prince, Prine, Waits, Dylan (his personal Mount Rushmore), as well as Rambling Jack Elliott, Van Zandt, Coltrane, Marty Stuart, Bill Withers, Elliott Smith, Ornette Coleman. Aspects of songwriting, dimensions of space on a track, the stain of emotions, the evolution inherent in real artists are all part of the conversation. It’s that earthy piece of creativity that calls him.

“I’m a Taurus,” he explains, “so part of my make-up is to be rooted to the ground. A lot of this record was written on the road, came together driving and drifting. You have to find centeredness (in the world). I find freedom in California to explore that I can’t find in the Southeast, but I like that I’m going back to Kentucky. I like being connected to where I’m from. Because that spirit of the universe, I’m always trying to get connected to that.

“Living my life being present, those old thoughts or assumptions, the fundamental things that can get you into trouble, they’re easier to lose if you’re moving and open.”

Talking about the way America shifts as the miles fall under your wheels, Vaughan recognizes that even the dissonance changes depending upon where you are. Laughing, he recalls, “When I pulled out of California and hit Arizona, it’s a free for all – and I don’t have a problem with all of what they’re just coming off of. California’s too politicized, and I don’t find any love driving any of it. When it’s all said and done, we are all equal. Really, we are.”

Which sets up “So Righteous” without even a question. Vaughan is so smart, but also so aligned to his own writing, the themes in his romantic realism move through his conversation like vines.

“Some people hear ‘Righteous’ and go screaming, ‘Those people in Michigan with their guns,’ or ‘Those Lefties in California with their liberal politics.’ Wherever you are, there’s ‘Those people!’ and that’s the problem.”

Vaughan lobs zero recrimination as he says this. Flat, an almost quiet observation, the Transcendental Meditation devotee recognizes truth, hopes to raise awareness and perhaps create better action through knowledge. His arranging – especially on Desires Shape, his fourth album since 2006 – takes that same exhaling approach: the warmth of that acoustic guitar played as mucb to support his voice as to flex his playing, the wheezing harmonica that echoes the vocal or reinforces the music’s themes.

“The feelings don’t live inside us, but we live inside the feelings,” he offers of the existential suspension of these recordings. “I’m okay with the loneliness and the beauty of it; that’s how I lean into the beauty.
“I wonder, ‘If I was this person, I shouldn’t be angry, because you hold a different idea.’ It’s a lot of going back and trying to get better, to understand or accept (the opposing reality) in trying to go forward. Sometimes just to think about what people are feeling on both sides…

“I’m willing to change my mind or learn something new to see the humanity.”

Whether the stomp’n’shuck hand-clapped passion of “Maria,” desolation over a few piano notes and organ pads of the forgotten man/small town in “Oklahoma,” the striding finger-picked guitar reassurance to a battered woman on the run “Rosie” or the elegiac “Desires of Despair,” Vaughan creates vastness out of minimalism as well as imbuing Dorothea Lange despondency with the photographer’s same dignity.

The title track of sorts fixes in amber a friend, a Midwestern kid caught in the jaws of the opioid crisis who ultimately wouldn’t make it. “I thought about the mother, who’d grown up kind of troubled, and it’s my heart for her, too. You know if you don’t change your life drastically, you’re going to lose. It’s inevitable.”

Pausing to consider the larger arc, he confesses it’s the humanity that matters most. “I was writing with the big hand, without judgement, but more the despair guiding me. My favorite line in the song is when the dog comes up every hour and a half to get a pat on the back. The dog doesn’t judge, doesn’t want anything but kindness, which (the kid)’s still capable of giving.

“That human touch? That’s what’s important. The homeless problem in LA is terrible, as well. So that narrator is a lot of other people, too: the father, the guy, you, me.”

Woody Guthrie understood the power of songs, and he weaponized them. Dylan, too, embraced wielding big truths as calls to action. Vaughan worries the white noise and tv news/social media cycle-created Tower of Babel makes it harder for these truths to cut through. But he’s undeterred.

‘These writers we talked about, they can all make time stand still – and it feels like traveling. They put you there, make you feel these things.

“Time is not so constraining as we make it,” he continues, unwinding a larger truth that shoots through his writing. “Your fears and the little b.s. things don’t have quite the power we give them; they’re what hold you back. When you’re ‘there,’ really present, those things fall away and. these truths emerge.

“When I was at Interlochen, I had a teacher who recognized (the cocoon safety of the school’s creative environment). He said, ‘When you leave here, don’t look back. You go out and have as many experiences as possible. You go be somebody, don’t follow the crowd and really see.’”

The details, the echoes, the warmth. All the subtle things define people in ways screaming or Pavlovian responses never will. He knows that, laughs that he’s been spotted for the nuance inside his songs.

“Maybe I can’t sing crazy melodies, but there’s a humanness to my voice that rattles (the listeners) inside themselves – and makes them feel things.

“In this day and age, you have to really listen to the record,” he admits. “And getting people to listen, it’s difficult. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go there.”

“The rivers are rising
It won’t be long
The damage-weakened’ll
Be dead and gone
Night’s falling and the lines are blurred
The right to be living we all deserve…”
“So Righteous” - American Songwriter


Hold on Thru Sleep and Dreams 2005

Love Like A Mule 2006

Weatherman 2010

The Conversation 2018

Desires Shape 2020



Originally hails from Kentucky. His first two records “Hold on Thru Sleep and Dreams” and “Love Like A Mule” were in the Top 10 on the Americana charts. Stoll has toured all over the United States and Europe. He has played venues such as Red Rocks, Hollywood Bowl, The Troubadour (NY and LA), Jones Beach. He has played Farm Aid. He was in the top three at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival songwriting competition. He has toured with the likes of John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, James McMurtry, Marty Stuart and opened for a Def Leppard/Journey co-bill (to name a few). Vaughan made his way to LA via Nashville. His music has been featured in major motion pictures and television series such as True Blood, Friday Night Lights, Shameless, The Office, The Open Road and composed music for David Lynch’s Webby Award winning Internet series Interview Project.  Vaughan helped develop, co-produce, and co-write for Sketches of American Music, the debut EP by Duane Betts, son of Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts.  Stoll then became the co-writer for the Allman Betts Band, co-writing their debut record, "Down To The River," and follow up record, "Bless Your Heart."

Vaughan released his new solo record "Desires Shape" in April 17, 2020, Stoll’s fourth studio album.  Desires Shape was tracked entirely in the singer/guitarist’s current home of Los Angeles, with a minimalist approach. The end result is as pure and stripped down as possible, consisting entirely of originals sung and played on a 1946 Martin 000-18 acoustic guitar. The intricate guitar, poignant lyrics, and traveled voice deliver what many fans of great songwriters are looking for.  

Americana Highways’ Bill Bentley cited Vaughan for writing “the kind of songs that feel like they will be around a long time, moving listeners to use them as something to hold on to and hopefully make sense of what can sometimes be the senseless.” Writing for The Final on Vinyl, Keith Hannaleck suggested, “Think of the poetic Dylan, the passion of Cash, and the tasteful six-string arrangements of a Mark Knopfler and you have Stoll Vaughan.” Matt Wallock of American Songwriter noted Vaughan’s “Dylanesque sense of imagining something just beyond one’s grasp."

“Stoll Vaughan is the real deal, authentic, American songwriter.  It is always an honor to work with him and to call him my dear friend.” Duane Betts

“Stoll Vaughan is the consummate Americana songwriter.  He’s singlehandedly brought our songwriting partnership to the next level.  He resumé speaks for itself.  He is an unspoken legend.  Truly.” Devon Allman

Vaughan will be doing a solo tour along with opening for The Allman Betts Band, promoting "Desires Shape."

Band Members