Jimmie Vaughan: The Story Tour

In Concert Bijou Theatre • July 14

By Randy Patterson, Boomerocity.com

The blues. The genre affects people in many ways. Wynton Marsalis said of it, “Everything comes out in blues music: joy, pain, struggle. Blues is affirmation with absolute elegance. It’s about a man and a woman. So the pain and the struggle in the blues is that universal pain that comes from having your heart broken. Most blues songs are not about social statements.” 

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones said, “If you don’t know the blues, there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music.” ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons said, “The blues is a mighty long road. Or it could be a river, one that twists and turns and flows into a sea of limitless musical potential.”

If anyone personifies all that the blues is, it is Jimmie Vaughan. The Dallas, Texas, born musician has played the blues from his first band, The Pendulums. Jimmie and the band opened for another “Jim”: Jimi Hendrix.

Jimmie loaned Jimi his Vox wah-wah pedal to use during his show. The pedal broke during his performance, and Jimi gave Jimmie his own touring pedal.

Jimmie went on to form another band that gained much more fame than The Pendulums: The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Jimmie also played a part in the 1998 movie Blues Brothers 2000 as the wingman guitarist in the fictional B.B. King led band the Louisiana Gator Boys.

As the pandemic began to abate last year, Jimmie toured as the opening act for his good friend, Eric Clapton, playing before packed houses all across the U.S. He will rejoin Clapton for more concert dates this fall.

Before that happens, Jimmie and his band will be touring on their own. As luck would have it for East Tennesseans, that tour is stopping by Knoxville, playing at the Bijou Theatre on July 14th. The tour is in support of The Jimmie Vaughan Story – a special limited-edition box set and book including more than 200 photos covering his life and the breadth of his remarkable career. 

During a recent phone conversation with Jimmie, he pulled out a copy of the box set and chatted about some of the songs contained within it.

“Here’s ‘I Can’t Quit You, Baby’ – the Otis Rush song. They’re instrumentals that we never put out. Here’s a version of me playing steel guitar on ‘Harbor Lights’ live in Louisiana. Early, early, early T-birds. There’s me playing guitar with Bill Carter, Willie The Wimp… Albert Collins, Jimmy Rogers; ‘Sugar Coated Love’ with Lou Ann Barton – I played lead on that. There’s a song with Delbert McClinton; a couple of tunes from the Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute.”

He continued to share names of people that were part of the treasure chest of musical memories. Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Dr. John, Art Neville, Bo Didley, John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Charlie Mussellwhite, and Billy Gibbons. It would’ve have been a shorter list to name the blues greats who were not on this amazing collection of music. It’s selections from that box set that Jimmie will be featuring during his stop at the Bijou.

Regarding touring with Eric Clapton, Jimmie shared, “It was great. It’s always a great time to open a show like that – especially when it’s Eric and his great band. The whole thing was fun.” Then, speaking in the context that the Eric Clapton shows were played as the pandemic was lifting, Jimmie added, “We played live, we played music, and the world is still spinning. Imagine that.”

Jimmie lives outside of Austin, Texas, which has a legendary music scene there. Think Nashville with a Texas drawl and flavor thrown in – just to make it different. When Jimmie isn’t out on the road on tour, he’s been known to drop in at a venue or two (especially at C-Boys Heart & Soul on Austin’s Congress Avenue) with his band to play his brand of blues.

“When we’re in Austin, we play,” he said. “I got a trio with Mike Flanigin. Mike kicks bass on a (Hammond) B3. I’ve got my drummer and myself. So when we’re around here, we’ll play on the weekends.” 

Order your tickets to see Jimmie Vaughan at the Bijou Theatre by visiting KnoxBijou.org. Read the rest of this interesting interview with Jimmie by visiting Boomerocity.com.