Jimmie will always be known as SRV’s big bro’, but his long contribution to Texas Blues-rock shouldn’t be underestimated. From the bar bands that inspired his kid brother to the Fabulous Thunderbirds and a long solo career, Jimmie has kept pounding out his own kind of Texas roadhouse Blues. This has resulted in fourteen albums and four Grammys, and even his hobby as a designer of classic custom cars has won him awards.
Born in Dallas in 1951, Jimmie took up guitar as a kid and one of his early bands was good enough to open concerts for Jimi Hendrix. In 1969, Jimmie moved to Austin with his band Texas Storm and began making a reputation on the club and bar scene in that big University town.
When Antone opened his famous club in Austin, The Thunderbirds became the house band, and their first incarnation had Lou Ann Barton on vocals before she left to join Stevie Ray in Triple Threat. At Antone’s they shared the stage with Muddy Waters, BB, Buddy Guy and a host of Blues Legends.
The Thunderbirds gelled together as a tight rocking unit that showed the modern face of Texas Blues.
They signed a record deal in 1979 and released eight albums in the next decade, and they continue to flourish today.
The Vaughan Brothers duet on the same guitar!!!
Stevie Ray and Jimmie had often spoken of recording together and in 1990 they began work on ‘Family Style’. This great double-Grammy winning collaboration was released shortly after the tragic death of Stevie Ray in a helicopter accident in August 1990. Not surprisingly, this immense family trauma led to Jimmie taking some time out. When he was invited to open a season of 16 shows at London’s Albert Hall for Eric Clapton three years later, the success of this solo debut encouraged Jimmie to return to recording. ‘Strange Pleasure’ was largely self-written and it was dedicated to his brother and the recently deceased Albert Collins. The success of that album opened out Jimmie’s career as a solo artist in his own right and he picked up two more Grammy’s as his exuberant and expressive guitar phrasing brought him fans all round the world.