August 27th marks twenty five years since the world heard Stevie Ray Vaughan play Number One, his signature Fender Stratocaster. Twenty five years since I knew I would never get to see this gifted musician play live. And since Stevie Ray Vaughan's untimely and shocking passing, his influence and legendary status has only gained in momentum.
At the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, the man who is responsible for Stevie Ray Vaughan ever picking up a guitar inducted his little brother. And the moment was not lost on Jimmy Vaughan. While he did talk about Stevie Ray sneaking around to play his big brother's guitar when told not to, he credited his brother's sobriety with saving his own life.
Whether it was his raw and emotional guitar playing or his truth about addictions, much can be said about Stevie Ray Vaughan's influence on people to change their lives for the better. From Bonnie Raitt to John Mayer, Stevie Ray can be attributed to helping them become clean and also become the best guitar players that they could be. He also influenced many to simply become the best person they could be.
One has to wonder, twenty five years on, where in the musical world would Stevie Ray
Vaughan be? What other songs, such as Lenny, Riviera Paradise, or Pride and Joy would Stevie have gifted to us. He was the epitome of the blues. He hit the very bottom and rose to stardom, only to be lost so very young in such a tragic way. Sobriety found him loving life to the fullest and playing the best shows of his career.
In the time since Stevie's passing, a true testament to his staying power is how timeless his music is. His songs were not jockeyed for an era or a style of music. Stevie Ray played the blues, he lived and breathed the notes he played. Music was his passion and it was evident every time he picked up his guitar.
Scottish singer, Sandi Thom, said that once after a gig at El Mocambo in Toronto, she was one of a handful of people left in the building. Off in the distance, she heard the unmistakable sound of Stevie Ray's guitar. She is not the first to have heard his signature heavy handed riffs when the lights are turned off. El Mocambo was a favorite venue for Stevie. She followed the sound, to see a shadowy figure in a room, hunched over playing guitar. Both he and the sound disappeared when she turned on the lights. In the end, we're all chasing the ghost of Stevie Ray Vaughan.
It seems like to me that he’s just out on tour and he’s going to come back soon, but then I remember. I’m not going to ever get over losing him, I’m not going to get over this crazy thing.