Sunday, August 26, 2007
God knows I love the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan. So does any reporter who's ever ridden with me, for I go nowhere without a first-aid kit stuffed full of his electric blues. Why exactly I need it so I can't rightly say. But neither could the man they called 'Guitar Hurricane' fully explain how he made his battered Stratocaster bellow, plead and strut. He just did it, seemingly with ease. Wrapping leathery fingertips across heavy strings tuned way down low, his broke-down Fender spoke in tongues he didn't have to understand. That and his love for the masters led to a brief but brilliant career, one that survived the ravages of rockstar bombast only to end seventeen years ago today on an Alpine, Wisconsin hillside. With him went a lot of great music the world would never hear, for Stevie Ray Vaughan fell to Earth at the height of his power, newly lucid and preaching redemption. He's ridden shotgun with me ever since, his thunderous licks and rich finesse providing a soundtrack perfect for speeding down life's highways. You may jam to Mott the Hoople in your newscar and that's cool by me. But rest assured that's not how I rock it in Unit Four, where a scrawny cat outta Austin lays waste to my every daydream with a blistering tone that both hurts and heals. Now you know.