Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Aug 26th 2010 5:30PM by James Sullivan
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Acknowledging that he'd hit rock bottom, the quiet bluesman once renounced the myth of the sainted rock 'n' roll casualty. "The lie is that it's OK to go out in flames," he said. "But that doesn't do anybody much good. I may be wrong, but I think Hendrix was trying to come around."
Vaughan, the closest thing to Jimi Hendrix we're likely to see, did come around. Sadly, less than four years later, his life came to an abrupt end anyway, when the helicopter he was taking from an all-star blues jam in Alpine Valley, Wisc., crashed into a hill in heavy nighttime fog just after takeoff. Aug. 27 marks the 20-year anniversary of Vaughan's death at age 35.
At the time of the accident, he was set to release 'Family Style,' a joint album project with his older brother Jimmie Vaughan, who'd recently left the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Despite his wayward years, Stevie Ray was essentially a family man, remaining close to his brother and loyal to Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton, the rhythm section that composed his backing band, Double Trouble.
"We were best friends," Shannon recently told the Oklahoman newspaper. "I lived with him and his wife when we weren't on the road."
Shannon first met Vaughan when the guitarist was still a teenager, performing at a Dallas club called the Fog. (Coincidentally, it was the same place where Shannon had met his previous employer, guitarist Johnny Winter, with whom he would play at Woodstock.)
"I walked inside, and there's this little skinny, pigeon-toed, big-eared kid playing his ass off," Shannon recalled.
Vaughan, who became eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, also left behind several live sets, including the landmark 'Live at Carnegie Hall.' Released posthumously in 1997, the performance featured the Roomful of Blues horn section and Dr. John on piano.
Two years after his death, Vaughan won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for his cover of Hendrix's 'Little Wing.' The song appeared on an outtakes collection called 'The Sky Is Crying,' named for another of Vaughan's favorites, the song by blues great Elmore James. Vaughan's life may have been cut short, but he lived plenty long enough to be lauded for his own take on the transcendent power of the blues.