"More a legend than a band," a slogan devised for another of Texas's most critically lauded musical outfits, the Flatlanders, also fits the Arc Angels perfectly — sometimes. The blues-rock quartet formed shortly after Stevie Ray Vaughan's untimely death in 1990, providing a new musical home for his grieving band, Double Trouble. Hinging on the hive-mind-like unity of DT rhythm section Tommy Shannon (bass) and Chris Layton (drums), the Arc Angels carried on Vaughan's electric blues legacy by adding the prodigious guitar talents of Charlie Sexton and Doyle Bramhall II. At once thrilling and volatile, this twin-lead approach to both vocals and guitar eventually took its toll on the band, as the two frontmen vied for supremacy, their dueling guitars recalling the epic Crossroads showdown between Steve Vai and Karate Kid Ralph Macchio. Bowing under the strain, the Arc Angels called it quits in October 1993, releasing only one album in three years together. Since then, they've reconvened for the occasional tour, but never recorded again. Despite the brevity of their tenure as modern blues's prime movers, the Arc Angels still coalesce perfectly onstage. They may be a legend overall, but once they mount a stage together, the Arc Angels are most certainly a band.
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