Since releasing his first solo album in 1994, he has set the standard for quality modern roots music. Throughout his career, Vaughan has earned the esteem of his legendary guitar-playing heroes and superstar peers along with successive generations of young players. His musical ethos and personal style have had an impact on contemporary culture, from spearheading the current blues revival with The Fabulous Thunderbirds to his longtime, innate fashion sense of slicked-back hair and sharp vintage threads (now seen throughout the pages of contemporary fashion journals) to becoming a premier designer of classic custom cars. But for Jimmie Vaughan, none of it is part of a crusade or a career plan. It’s just his natural way of living his life and pursuing the interests that have captivated Vaughan since his youth.
Now, with his third solo release and Artemis Records debut, Do You Get The Blues?, Vaughan has fashioned his most compelling and appealing musical statement yet, creating a rich and variegated masterpiece of 21st Century rhythm and blues. From the first notes of the opening instrumental, “Dirty Girl,” it’s clear that Vaughan has created a contemporary classic. Driven by Vaughan’s lyrical guitar work, the skin-tight drumming of George Rains and the verdant Hammond B-3 work of the song’s writer, Bill Willis (whose long career includes work on the seminal R&B and blues sides issued by King Records as well as stints with Freddie King and Lavern Baker), the song speaks volumes without a single word, and sets a tone of distinctive and emotion-laden musical articulation that continues throughout the disc.
Do You Get The Blues? travels through a virtual galaxy of musical moods and modes across its 11 vibrant selections. Highlights include a rare Jimmie Vaughan acoustic slide track–a tribute to his friend and mentor Muddy Waters–and harp by blues legend James Cotton on “The Deep End,” a fusion of vintage R&B and jazz on “Don’t Let The Sun Set,” the sexy and seductive mood of “Slow Dance,” the syncopated soul of “Let Me In,” and a classic Texas blues shuffle with “Robbin’ Me Blind.” Jimmie offers a glimpse of the continuing Vaughan legacy on “Without You,” co-written by his son, rising Austin musician Tyrone Vaughan, who plays guitar with Jimmie on the track. The album also features Texas singing legend Lou Ann Barton, a founding member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Jimmie and Lou Ann’s potent vocal chemistry shines on the fiery “Out Of The Shadows” and the searing “Power of Love.” The two also join forces with the Double Trouble rhythm section of Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton on the classic shouter, “In The Middle of the Night.” By the time the album lands on “Planet Bongo,” the imaginative mood piece that caps the disc, it’s clear that Do You Get The Blues? is a tour de force that draws from Jimmie Vaughan’s vast reservoir of musical traditions to create a modern classic.
“I wanted to make a romantic blues album,” explains Vaughan. “I was listening to a lot of Sarah Vaughan and a lot of jazz. So I wanted to put my dirty blues guitar and the romantic feelings and the ins and outs of love together on one album. It’s got a lot of gospel stylings, it’s got blues, it’s got R&B. I don’t consciously think, okay, we need to put some of this in here; I like that beat, that’s cool. I don’t plan it out or try to decipher what it is. I just try to create what I feel.”
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