Born as James Lawrence Vaughan on 20 March 1951 in Dallas, Texas, Jimmie Vaughan is a blues singer and guitarist whose musical style was inspired and influenced by the famous blues guitarist, Freddy King, otherwise better known as the “Texas Cannonball” and the equally electrifying Johnny “Guitar” Watson.
As Jimmie Vaughan was growing up in Oak Cliff in Dallas, his interest in vintage blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll was developed while listening to Wolfman Jack and other popular performers over AM radio powerhouse KNOX and border radio stations such as XERB. While recuperating from a football injury incurred when he was 13, he received a guitar from a family friend to wile away his time. Because of his natural talent, he quickly learned to master the instrument, and even tutored his younger brother, Stevie Ray, to play the guitar.
When he was just 15, Jimmie Vaughan started his first band, The Swinging Pendulums, and played in the Dallas nightclub scene. At 16, he was with the Chessmen, which was the city’s top musical attraction and which eventually opened concerts for Jimi Hendrix in Dallas. His musical interest veered to blues after hearing Freddie King and Muddy Waters perform in Dallas. By 1969, Jimmie helped form the Texas Storm and moved with the band to Austin where they were warmly received by the college crowd as well as the Capital City’s East Side Chicano and Black communities.
Together with Kim Wilson, Jimmie Vaughan formed The Fabulous Thunderbirds in the mid-70s, which became the house band of Austin’s Antone’s nightclub. There, Jimmie rubbed elbows with blues legends in the likes of Buddy Guy, Albert King, B.B. King and Muddy Waters—all of whom recognized and appreciated his talent and style.
Jimmie Vaughan cut eight albums with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, which helped spark a blues revival and eventually went on a world musical tour and won two Grammys. After a long hiatus following the death of his brother, Stevie Ray, Jimmie was invited by his friend Eric Clapton to open 16 concert series at London’s Royal Albert Hall, which paved the way for his solo performances in Eric Clapton’s shows in 1993 and the recording of his first solo album “Strange Pleasure.” Clinching the number one spot on the Billboard Heatseeker Chart, the album received a Grammy nomination for Best Blues Album and garnered critical acclaim. His succeeding album “Out There” which was released in 1998, was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and obtained rave reviews thereby assuring Jimmie’s status as a solo performing artist.
Jimmie Vaughan is politically active with Libertarian leanings. He had endorsed the presidential candidacy of Ron Paul in 2008. Aside from playing before Ron Paul’s speaking engagement at the University of Texas, he also opened for Paul’s keynote address in St. Paul, Minnesota.