Stevie Ray Vaughan
by Wes Diggs
(Deerfield, IL, USA)
He was the most raw and visceral guitarist to grace any stage at any venue in the world. His blues music transcended scales and notes that brought joy to any true music fan. People who listened to Stevie for the first time would be flabbergasted at the amount of sheer power that his music had.
It isn't fair to simply look at his biggest hits like Texas Flood and Pride and Joy without first taking a look at some of his less well known songs like Lenny and Riviera Paradise, for example. His best performances were arguably on songs that weren't #1 singles, since he had such a large amount of improv room in each of his sets.
Magic happened when he started to solo. Ask any professional music person who has any knowledge whatsoever about blues guitar who had the most raw talent and power when playing on a stage, and resoundingly you will hear "Stevie Ray Vaughan." The most popular blues guitarist alive today, John Mayer was quoted as saying "You can play guitar like Stevie for maybe 15 seconds, and then your arm cramps up."
In terms of blues guitar, there certainly were more groundbreaking figures in history, Albert King, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Howling Wolf, but none of them managed to capture the limelight of America, and the world, quite like Stevie. His music made the blues accessible to people who normally would be listening to rock or hip-hop. He popularized the blues in a way no other man to date has. His following is second to none, and the amount of people inspired by him is countless. He truly was a master of guitar, and is sorely missed by all.