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4 October 2019 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm Barre Opera House
It’s been a decade since Jimmie Vaughan was last at the Opera House, but patrons still mention the show today and it remains one of the hottest performances we’ve ever had here. Vaughan is back on 10/4 and we’re especially excited that he’ll have as part of his band Swanton native Jason Corbiere.
Legendary Texas Blues guitarist and 4-time Grammy winner Jimmie Vaughan brings his 7-piece band to The Barre Opera House for what promises to be Vermont’s hottest blues event of the year. Vaughan, says Guitar Player magazine, “is a virtual deity–a living legend.” He’s also a vital link between contemporary music and its proud heritage, as well as being a longtime avatar of retro cool.
Jimmie Vaughan’s love affair with blues and rock ’n’ roll goes back to his childhood in Dallas. Listening to R&B and blues on the radio, seeing Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show, watching his uncles pick country tunes on their guitars—all of those experiences helped shape the young Jimmie’s musical interests. Then it happened. While home from school recuperating from a broken collarbone, “My dad’s friend gave me a guitar and said, ‘Play this,’” Vaughan remembers. “They were afraid I’d get in trouble around the house. It was an acoustic cowboy guitar with three strings. I learned a Jimmy Reed thing and I’ve been playing ever since. After about a week I knew this was what I wanted to do. I thought to myself, if I really practice I can get some money and get a car and I can split.”
He got the car and a bunch of guitars, but never left Texas. He began playing around the Lone Star State with a series of bands, most notably the Chessmen, who opened once for a hotshot new guitarist named Jimi Hendrix. Then, in 1974, Vaughan hooked up with vocalist and harmonica player Kim Wilson and the Fabulous Thunderbirds were born.
The T-Birds reached their peak of popularity with the 1986 release of Tuff Enuff, a classic of the genre that still sounds as monstrous today as it did nearly a quarter-century ago. Jimmie stayed with the group another four years after that, and his first move following his exit from the group was to cut an album with his kid brother, not a bad little guitar picker himself: Stevie Ray Vaughan. “Family Style” was a huge hit upon its release in the fall of 1990, but its success came with a huge price tag: Stevie Ray’s death in a helicopter crash just weeks after the album’s completion.
It came time to leave The Thunderbirds and build his own path exploring different approaches to the blues. He did not hesitate. And what Vaughan discovered was that he could take it anywhere; there were no boundaries. “I wanted to find out what I could really do,” he says, “and when I started singing it gave me a whole new side to explore. When I was young I didn’t really pay much attention to categories of music. I just heard what I liked and decided to explore that. And that’s really what I’m still doing.”
When it comes to the blues today, there are a handful of guiding lights to make sure the music stays true to its powerful source. The sound of pleasure and pain that first sparked musicians to create such a sound is a force that can never be underestimated. The mojo has to be there. Jimmie Vaughan has dedicated his life to making sure the blues not only stays alive, but remains full of life and an inspiration to all who listen. It’s a spirit he holds close to him, and for over 50 years of holding the blues close inside him, Vaughan isn’t about to stop now.
Of special interest to Vermont music enthusiasts: Grammy-nominated Swanton native, Jason Corbiere, is a member of Vaughan’s band and will be in Barre for this concert.
Tickets for Jimmie Vaughan are $22-$42.50 – order online at barreoperahouse.org or call the box office at 802-476-8188. The Opera House is handicapped accessible and equipped for the hearing impaired.
This TD Bank Celebration Series show is sponsored by PLM Fine Arts, Trow & Holden and Central Vermont Medical Center with media support from The Point. The Opera House is located at 6 North Main St. in Barre.