Photo by Bill Bradford
Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of a kind, a guitarist (and a singer, let's not forget) who changed the way that people thought about the blues at a time when it was in need of a facelift.
SRV made the blues modern, exciting, slightly dangerous, all the things that it should always have been. He formed a classic blues trio and the band developed such a classic sound that the phrase Texas Blues is interchangeable with Double Trouble.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble ignited a resurgent scene in the 80s, and he dedicated his life to his guitar.
Few guitars are so iconic as Stevie's beaten-up frankenstein 1962 Fender Stratocaster, a few guitarists are so iconic as Stevie.
His ultra-expressive playing was complimented by his incredible technique and maneuverability around the board. He was a quick player, but it was his signature two bar pentatonic link finshing with a downward slide from high on the fretboard that was most memorable.
Ending a phrase with a quick slide down on the the high e-string, almost cheeky in its sound, displayed Stevie Ray Vaughan's alternative approach to the blues. At a time when other players were shredding up and down the neck, or going through the motions, Stevie used the guitar to sing a tune.
Stevie was a hero to so many. His death in 1990 was a tragedy, a helicopter crash after a Double Trouble performance in Wisconsin.
Eric Clapton, who was with him at the gig, but boarded a different helicopter to the next destination on the musicians' itinerary, identified the body along with Stevie's big brother, Jimmie.
Eric described Stevie as his 'companion'. And though Stevie's music, many people who never had the pleasure of meeting him can still enjoy his legacy.
23 years on, he is still a hero to guitarists everywhere.
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