He comes from a legendary blues family and a family that knows how to play the guitar. The older brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan has four Grammy Awards in a career that spans decades. The Texas artist is that rarity, a living legend whose first group played Dallas’ Hob Knob Lounge six nights a week. Vaughan was still in high school, and he learned lessons about music and life that you can’t learn in school. He found the blues early on and that set the path of his life.
In the 1970s, Vaughan hitchhiked to Austin and carved out a crew of blues players who shared his love for the genre. He had worldwide success in the 1980s with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, but he knew when it was time to leave the band and go out on his own, exploring different approaches to the blues. He discovered that he could take the music in any direction because there were no boundaries. “I wanted to find out what I could really do and when I started singing, it gave me a whole new side to explore. When I was young, I didn’t really pay attention to categories of music. I just heard what I liked and decided to explore that. And that’s really what I’m still doing.”
For the past few years, Jimmie Vaughan has been recording a series of albums dedicated to the songs he’s always held in high esteem, recorded by artists that inspired him from his earliest days of performing. The sessions were held in studios near Austin, with musicians who understood that music is intended to ignite the heart and fill the soul. The music comes from writers and performers, some well-known, and others not known outside the blues world. On his latest release, Baby, Please Come Home, some of the original artists honored include Lloyd Price, Lefty Frizell, T-Bone Walker, Etta James, Fats Domino, Gatemouth Brown and Jimmy Reed. That the album moves from blues artists like Reed to a founding father of country, Frizell, proves Vaughan’s point, that music is not what the label says, but how it makes the listener feel. That the music is played by Jimmie Vaughan’s long-standing A-team band of musicians ensures that listeners will feel.
The sessions were mostly held at San Marcos, Texas’ Fire Station Studio, and were the kind of recordings based on musicians who have been playing this music for decades. They’ve come to a near-silent style of communication, where a look or smile communicates much more than words could. As bandleader, singer and guitarist, Jimmie Vaughan is the master of how everything is captured for posterity. His singing voice has grown into a study in strength. While he sometimes says, “Sometimes you can sing and sometimes you can’t,” like everything he does, he knows when it’s right and doesn’t stop until it is. He has always looked to his soul as the ultimate barometer of when the music is right and when it is, he knows he has found the spot where the music is ready to be shared.
Jimmie Vaughan has dedicated his life to making sure the blues not only stay alive, but remain full of life and an inspiration to all who listen. It’s a spirit he holds close to himself and after holding it close for more than 50 years, he isn’t about to stop now.
Come share a night with Jimmie Vaughan and his music. You’ll feel it, heart and soul.