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Jimmie Vaughan

Jimmie Vaughan

Photo by James Minchin III

"I try to speak with my guitar in sentences."

Jimmie Vaughan was born on March 20, 1951 in Dallas, TX. When he was sidelined by a football injury at the age of 13, a family friend gave Jimmie Vaughan a guitar to occupy him during his recuperation. From the moment Jimmie Vaughan's fingers touched the fretboard, it was obvious that he was a natural talent. He began tutoring his younger brother Stevie Ray Vaughan, who would cite Jimmie Vaughan as his biggest inspiration and influence throughout his own career. At age 15, Jimmie Vaughan started his first band, The Swinging Pendulums, and was soon playing the rough and tumble Dallas nightclub scene many nights a week. By the time he hit 16, Jimmie Vaughan joined The Chessman, who became the area's top musical attraction, eventually opening concerts in Dallas for Jimi Hendrix. After hearing Muddy Waters and Freddie King play in Dallas, Jimmie Vaughan began to delve deep into the blues, melding his many influences into a style that was clean, economical and highly articulate, concentrating on rhythmic accents and lead work that relies on the power of his less is more approach. In 1969, Jimmie Vaughan helped found Texas Storm, a group that eschewed Top 40 covers for blues and soul with a Texas accent. The band eventually migrated to Austin, where they won over the college crowd and the Black and Chicano communities on the Capital City's East Side. Jimmie Vaughan also helped jump start his brother Stevie Ray Vaughan's career when the younger Vaughan joined Texas Storm on bass. Determined to create an ideal vehicle for blues music that was both modern in its impact and appeal yet true to the tradition, Jimmie Vaughan founded The Fabulous Thunderbirds with Kim Wilson in the mid 1970s. When Antone's nightclub opened in Austin in August of 1975, the Thunderbirds became the house band, sharing the stage and jamming with such blues greats as Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Albert King and a host of others, all of whom recognized Jimmie Vaughan as the man who would keep the music they developed alive for future generations. Jimmie Vaughan recorded eight albums with The Fabulous Thuderbirds. Eventually, Jimmie Vaughan's friend Eric Clapton invited him to open a series of 16 special concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall. After the warm reception for his solo debut at the Eric Clapton shows in early 1993, Jimmie Vaughan started recording his first solo album. The resulting disc, Strange Pleasure, was produced by Nile Rodgers. It debuted at Number One on the Billboard Heatseeker Chart, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Blues Album and garnered reams of critical acclaim as Jimmie Vaughan also stepped out on tour as a solo artist and bandleader. His next album, 1998's Out There, solidified Jimmie Vaughan's status as a solo artist, thanks to a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the song Ironic Twist. Jimmie Vaughan is modest in assessing his abilities, though very clear when it comes to his approach. "I try to speak with my guitar in sentences," he explains. "The people that I enjoy and the music that I enjoy are not about just a bunch of licks strung together. If you just play a bunch of guitar licks that aren't connected, it's like throwing a lot of words into a bowl. It doesn't make any sense. It's just words."

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