Jimmie Vaughan just may be the guitar hero’s guitar hero. His kid bro, SRV, became the vaunted, face-contorting, barn-burning blues hero who everyone plays air guitar along with. JLV, meanwhile, was the epitome of six-string class, playing just the right riffs at just the right time.
Since his Fab Thunderbird days, he’s fronted his own Tilt-A-Whirl Band, but also has a just-for-fun side project going, the Jimmie Vaughan Trio. This latest offering catches the ensemble live at Austin’s South Congress Avenue juke, C’Boy’s Heart & Soul, where they’ve been playing on and off for years; this album’s culled from two gigs in March ’16. And JLV’s playing here is some of his best and most laid back in years.
The Trio includes Hammond B3 maestro Mike Flanigin and drummer Frosty Smith. To say the group is tight and feeling it is an understatement. The organ work is glorious: sweeping swells and warbling stabs. And the percussion is crisp and just right.
The band kicks off with a rollicking “You Can’t Sit Down” by the Bim Bam Boos (remember them?). They slink through the jazz standard “Saint James Infirmary” as if they have intent to commit a crime. Their version of Gatemouth Brown’s Peacock slow-groove “Dirty Work At The Crossroads” features a scorching JLV solo. “Cleo’s Mood” is a Junior Walker tune riding atop a Slim-Harpo-like groove, giving the Trio perhaps their best opportunity to stretch out here.
Throughout, Vaughan offers a lesson in understatement. He’s never showy, but always soulful. In fact, his playing is so beautifully restrained that it’s flashy in its own tasteful way.
This article originally appeared in VG April 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.