His blistering guitar playing breathed life back into the blues. Performing night after night - from his early teens to his tragic death at age thirty-five, in tiny pass-the-hat clubs and before thousands in huge arenas - Stevie Ray Vaughan fused blazing technique with deep soul in a manner unrivaled since the days of Jimi Hendrix. The genuineness and passion of his music moved millions. It nearly saved his life. Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire is the first biography of this meteoric guitar hero. Emerging from the hotbed of Texas blues, Stevie Ray Vaughan developed his unique style early on, in competition with his older brother, Jimmie Vaughan, founder of the Fabulous Thunderbirds - a competition that shaped much of Stevie's life. Fueled by drugs and alcohol through a thousand one-night stands, he lived at a fever pitch that nearly destroyed him. Musically exhausted and close to collapse, in his final years Stevie Ray mustered the courage to overcome his addictions, finding strength and inspiration in a new emotional openness. His death in a freak helicopter crash in 1990 silenced one of the great musical talents of our time. Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire reveals Stevie Ray Vaughan's life in all its remarkable, sometimes unsavory detail. It also brings to life the rich world of Texas music out of which he grew, and captures the staggering dimensions of his musical legacy. It will stand as the definitive biographical portrait of Stevie Ray.
The brief life of the legendary Texas blues-guitarist, well told by Patoski (a senior editor at Texas Monthly) and writer/radio producer Crawford, both of whom live in Austin and saw dozens of Vaughan concerts. Raised around Dallas, Vaughan (1954-90) was a guitar prodigy whose greatest influence was his older brother Jimmie, also a guitarist. Whatever musical instrument Jimmie tried to play, Vaughan was sure to imitate him, and as his brother got better instruments, Stevie played Jimmie's electric hand-me-downs. At ten, Vaughan already was feeding on the legends of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Johnny Ace, and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Determined to make a living off his guitar, he quit school and took his group to Austin, which was then a mirror of the hippie paradise in San Francisco. Even so, Vaughan was neck-deep in low self-esteem and forever hid behind his guitar, but as his powers became more widely known, his intensity as a musician only deepened: During one gig, after playing his finger callus off down to the quick, he borrowed some Superglue, glued the callus back on, and went on with the show. Vaughan played blues with all the giants, from Eric Clapton to Jeff Beck, but eventually drugs and booze numbed the soul out of his playing. At 32, glazed and whacked out, he went to a Georgia rehab, then - with a hand from fellow recoverer Clapton - made a fabulous comeback, remaining sober to his last breath. Just before his death in a helicopter crash, following a concert with Clapton and some fellow legends, he made a record with brother Jimmie, their first together. Released less than three weeks after Vaughan's death, Family Style instantly zapped the charts. Patoski and Crawford do an exceptionally strong job on Vaughan's final three years sober, his early fears, and his huge comeback. (Kirkus Reviews)