Stevie Ray Vaughan’s debut album Texas Flood was not just another hotshot album that took the music industry by storm. It did much more than that – it brought the blues back in fashion. The year was 1983 and blues music was losing most of its shine, compared to the 1960s. Texas Flood changed all that by spending more than six months on the charts, and a star was born. What followed for Vaughan was stupendous success, and his signature Texas shuffle made him one of the most prominent American blues artists to watch out for. Vaughan went on to pioneer the blend of the blues and rock, drawing his influences from Albert King, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Lonnie Mack. Vaughan had once stated that it was Mack who “really taught me to play guitar from the heart”, while the guitarist Vaughan had studied the most was Johnny “Guitar” Watson.
On his part, Vaughan was the influence for artists like Colin James, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang, Kelly Richey, Eric Johnson, John Mayer, Los Lonely Boys and many others. Vaughan was born in Dallas, Texas on October 3, 1954. His earliest inspiration was right at home – his elder brother Jimmie Vaughan. Vaughan junior was already playing in garage bands before he hit the teens, and by age 17, he had made up his mind to quit school and pursue music full-time. Vaughan then moved to Austin and played for The Cobras, and in 1977 he formed his own band Triple Threat Revue, which was later called Double Trouble. The band became wildly popular in the Texas club circuit, and in 1983 Vaughan released his debut album Texas Flood under Epic Records. His second album Couldn't Stand the Weather was released in 1984 and the third Soul to Soul in 1985, and both were super successful. The single “Crossfire” from Vaughan’s fourth album In Step went straight to the #1 spot on the rock charts. Family Style, the 1990 blues rock album is Vaughan’s only recording with his elder brother Jimmie.
A lifelong Fender player, Vaughan has two guitars made in his honor. Fender released the Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster in 1992, and followed it up with the Lenny Stratocaster in 2007. The second one is an exact replica of Vaughan’s beloved and beat-up guitar Lenny, which he had named after his wife Lenora. Apart from many awards including multiple Grammy Awards, W.C Handy Awards, Austin Music Awards and more, Vaughan was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, and is on the 3rd spot of Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. Vaughan’s incredible musical journey came to a shocking halt when he was killed in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990. He was only 35 and was en route to Chicago after a stellar performance at a sold out Wisconsin concert, where he had just jammed with Buddy Guy, Robert Clay, Eric Clapton and Jimmie Vaughan. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Austin, Texas, is Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake, the venue for many of Vaughan’s concerts and also the Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Statue. Texas also remembers its illustrious son on his birthday, and October 3 is known as “Stevie Ray Vaughan Day” in the state.
Enjoy the Growing library of Stevie Ray Vaughan Inspired ‘Classic Blues Backing Tracks’ here on the site – let me know if you want any particular track or groove made into an ‘Over-20-Minute-Blues-Backing-Track’ – I’d love to help you out J
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