Friday, July 20, 2007

Jimmy Vaughan

Jimmy Vaughan Like a Cadillac.

Style and substance and filled with class.
Review & photo by Mark Fredell

I forget where I first read it or heard it, but I remember one time hearing (or seeing) somebody comparing Jimmy Vaughan’s guitar playing to his younger brother Stevie Ray’s, they said that Stevie was like the Corvette of blues guitar players and Jimmy is the Cadillac. Of course the Corvette is fast and furious and has that sleek aerodynamic design. It runs from 0 to 60 in a few short seconds and yes it has style but it is a style designed more for the rebellious individual; that hot-rodder kid or the guy going through his midlife crisis and wanting to capture something that is just out of his reach. Stevie Ray was a remarkable player, filled with passion and creativity. He often appeared to get lost in his music seemingly becoming the vessel that it flowed through rather than the actual creator of it but don’t get me wrong he was that creator. His fluidity on the fret board allowed him to take his Fender Stratocaster to places most players can hardly imagine and boy could he play fast. SRV seemed at times to forget that in the blues the notes you play are important, but often it is the ones you don’t play that drive the emotion. That space, the air between the notes can speak volumes without a sound. Stevie could do this it’s just that most of the time he didn’t, he seemed to always be in a hurry to get there, though he perhaps never really knew where ‘there’ was.

Jimmy on the other hand is definitely the Cadillac; I would say perhaps a late 60’s or early 70’s Eldorado or a 50’s four door DeVille. Low and wide that’s the Cadillac ride. Steady, stylish and always in control, gliding through the turns, rolling down the straight stretches of highway like you are floating a few inches off the asphalt. Filled with plenty of power but holding it in reserve incase you might need it and always reaching your destination at precisely the right moment, without over stressing that engine. That is Jimmy Vaughan. Without question one of the finest guitarists on the planet today, he’s got style and finesse, dexterity and restraint. With impeccable technique Jimmy is the epitome of subtlety. He never seems to over play, he doesn’t demand the spotlight and he inspires awe among other players with his slippery, un rushed approach. On the 8th of July he and his Tilt-A-Whirl band took some time off a tour with Dylan (yeah Bob Dylan) to set up shop at the Cabooze on the west bank and show those in attendance that it doesn’t have to be fast to be great and it doesn’t have to be blaring loud to be heard. Jimmy played with passion and intensity and sang with real emotion and along with Lou Ann Barton and the band they lifted this particular Sunday night up into the realm of the sublime. It was incredible.


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