Have you ever seen greatness up close and personal in your life? Have you experienced an artist that has touched you with a song or lyric that fits your life’s challenges and triumphs to a “T” ? I have seen that greatness up close and personal and I have experienced the type of song and lyric that keeps coming back to remind me of my life and times. That greatness for me was Stevie Ray Vaughn.
August 27, 1990 will forever go down in history as one of the saddest days in music history as Stevie Ray Vaughn, one of the greatest blues rock guitarist in music history, was killed in a horrible helicopter crash. Vaughn at age 35 was considered the closest thing to Jimmy Hendrix the music world had ever heard. His machine gun style take no prisoners riffs are stuff of legend. His deep soulful voice was the perfect compliment to the Stevie Ray style: soulful mayhem.
It was with great sadness and pleasure that I watched KQED’s Compilation of Stevie Ray Vaughn archive footage. The story like many rock stars was a meteoric blast off into music legend with his band “Double Trouble” gaining world wide adulation from an ever increasing and adoring audience.
As I listen to this music, I fall into a trance where so many of SRV’s songs spawn a highlight and lowlight reel of my life. From “Riviera Paradise” comes an evening shooting pool dressed in a tux smoking a cigar in a San Francisco hustler’s den amongst a cache of thieves, cadre of mentally deficient, and a quorum of highly paid entertainment “performers.” “Caught up in a whirlwind can’t catch my breath. . . knee deep in hot water broke out in cold sweat. . . ” It was one of Stevie Ray’s greatest albums, “In Step” that launched my love of the man and his music. Make no mistake about it, Vaughn lived and he lived hard to the very last chord.
“Coldshot” I lived many a time when I thought to myself love might never find me. Walkin the “Tightrope” is an everyday event as I am fond of “Lookin back in front of me” seems to sum up my grateful feelings that life is better now than in the past. It is a reminder to always look ahead but never forget where you came from and who you have become in this life.
If you have an artist so precious to your life and times that you can not imagine him/her being gone, then hear this message. Go out and see that person NOW. Go enjoy the magic, savor the moments, and forever be grateful for one shining moment you felt that somebody out there really does understand.