The Other Vaughan
Though Jimmie Vaughan has quietly and consistently proven that he's just as skillful and dedicated a bluesman as his younger brother ever was, the wild life, flashy chops and tragic death of Stevie Ray Vaughan may always end up dwarfing his older sibling's accomplishments. Still, we shouldn't forget that after Jimmie Vaughan played his last gig with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Kim Wilson had no choice but to replace him with not one, but two guitarists.
Curiously, Vaughan hasn't put out a solo CD since his critically acclaimed 1994 debut, Strange Pleasure, a release that allowed him to expand beyond the Texas barroom boogie of the Thunderbirds and slip relatively easily into lead vocals. From the gospel-tinged "Love the World" and the Motown-like "Hey Yeah" to the greasy sax-and-organ moan of "Tilt a Whirl" and the blues shuffle of "Boom-Bapa-Boom," Vaughan all but wore a pith helmet in his effort to advertise his willingness to explore.
But even if his recorded output has been sparse, as anyone who's seen him live can attest, Vaughan doesn't need to have a new product to push to get a joint jumpin'. Growing up, the Dallas-born Vaughan -- now 47 -- became fascinated not only by the guitar, but by the otherworldly (and dangerous) sounds of the old blues legends that he'd see mentioned in the credits of his Rolling Stones records. At 19, he moved to Austin, which would end up claiming him as a favorite son. He formed the bar band the Storm in 1972, squeezing in gigs while acting as a guitarist-for-hire backing visiting musicians. In 1974, he met singer/harmonica player Kim Wilson, and the next year they formed the Fabulous Thunderbirds and hit the road.
It wasn't until 1986 that the T-Birds broke through nationally with the album Tuff Enuff. The subsequent Powerful Stuff and Hot Number, however, failed to catch fire. Always in search of a fresh challenge, Vaughan left the band the same year he teamed up with Stevie Ray for Family Style, a CD on which he shared vocal and guitar duties with his newly clean-and-sober sibling.
The helicopter crash that took Stevie Ray's life happened less than an hour after he had shared the stage with Jimmie -- and only a few weeks before Family Style's release. The tragedy plunged Jimmie into a three-year depression. He was coaxed out of his funk by an invitation to play with Eric Clapton at the latter's annual Royal Albert Hall concert in 1993. That experience reportedly gave him the strength and enthusiasm to make Strange Pleasure.
In 1995, Jimmie bid a belated adieu to his legendary brother with an all-star concert in Austin. There were few dry eyes in the house when Jimmie launched into Stevie Ray's signature "Texas Flood," with which Jimmie was not only summoning the spirit of his dead brother but exorcising his own demons.
Even so, the Jimmie Vaughan coming to Houston Friday will be here on his own accord, and ready to celebrate the music that drew him to musty record-store racks as a teenager. And with fellow Austinites Storyville opening, this Texas-tinged double bill is not to be missed.
-- Bob Ruggiero
Jimmie Vaughan performs at 8 p.m. Friday, January 2, at Aerial Theater at Bayou Place, 520 Texas. Storyville opens. Tickets are $10 to $37.50. For info, call 629-3700.
Brian McKnight -- Seeing as how his sugary vocal stylings woo a mostly female audience, guys have never been too keen on Brian McKnight. While many male R&B balladeers are able to wax soulful with their manhood intact, McKnight has traditionally been more than happy to put the "wuss" back into the supersensitive torch tune. So it might come as a surprise to the testosterone crew that his latest release, Anytime, is hardly a limp-wristed extravaganza, in large part thanks to producers such as the Trackmasters and Puff Daddy, who manage to put a more manly spring in McKnight's step. Even the title track has the sort of searing, heartbreaking intensity that any guy can relate to. And apparently he's not a quiche eater, either. At 8 p.m. Sunday, January 4, at the Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway. Tickets are $29 and $31. 988-1020. (Craig D. Lindsey)
Ana Egge -- Though Egge's only been living in Austin a few years, the 21-year-old singer/songwriter's performances at clubs such as Threadgill's and the Cactus Cafe have already captivated the capital's music community. Raised in South Dakota and New Mexico, she arrived in Texas in October 1994 at the suggestion of Sarah Brown, a member of the Antone's house band, to record her first set of songs. The result was a cassette that sold enough to finance a 1995 move to Austin. Earlier this year, Egge released her first CD, River Under the Road, and the credits cut a broad stroke through the Austin music community. Egge's music is a combination of bluegrass, folk and Texas-style country that defies easy categorization. With a voice that recalls a young Bonnie Raitt, she sings of home and family with deep affection. The results are always captivating. At 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 6, at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk. Tickets are $5. 528-5999. (Jim Caligiuri)
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