Listening to blues music is like listening to the artist’s soul. Early blues music had an influence on a large number of artists in Texas to make music that is still heard to this day. There are many noteworthy blues musicians in Texas. Some of the greatest include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Janis Joplin, Freddie King, Billy Gibbons, and T-Bone Walker.
Stevie Ray Vaughan is a legend and was a leading figure in the blues-rock genre. Vaughan was born in Dallas, Texas in October of 1954. (Dutton) He was exposed to music early on in his childhood watching big bother Jimmie Vaughan play guitar. By the age of 14 Vaughan was playing in Dallas blues clubs. (Simon, 2001) When he played he demanded the audience’s attention and had a sound of blues meets Jimi Hendrix. (Wenner, 2011) His fame was based mainly in central Texas. It was not until he played at a party thrown by Mick Jagger that his band Double Trouble got their big break when David Bowie as Vaughan to perform on his upcoming album Let’s Dance. (Stevie Ray Vaughan, 2013.) He became a pretty big success and his fan base grew to places outside of Texas. In 1985 Stevie became the first white performer to win the W.C. Handy Foundation’s Blues Entertainer of the Year award. (Simon, 2001) After a performance in August of 1990 Vaughan got on a helicopter bound for Chicago that crashed into mountains due to fog just minutes after taking off killing everyone onboard. (“Stevie Ray Vaughan”, 2013.) His legacy still lives on to this day with an ever-growing fan base.
Janis Joplin has been called “the greatest white urban blues and soul singer of her generation.” (Janis Joplin Biography.) Joplin was born January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas. (Janis Lyn Joplin.) Early in her career she did not have luck as a solo artist; it was not until she joined Big Brother and the Holding Company in San Francisco that she had any hits. Big Brother became regular performers at Helm’s Avalon Ballroom where most of their 1968 hit album Cheap Thrills was recorded. (Janis Joplin Biography.) Her career with Big Brother only lasted two years and after she left the band she took guitarist Sam Andrew with her. Her first solo album I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! got mixed reviews with “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)” was one of the only hits off the album. (Unterberger) Janis struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism for many years. Her “anything goes” life style caught up to her in October of 1970 where she died of an overdose in a Hollywood hotel room. (Unterberger) Her posthumously album Pearl got better reviews it featured many hits including “Me and Bobby McGee” a song written for ex lover Kris Kristofferson. (Janis Joplin Biography.) The album showed what could have come from Joplin had she not died at age 27.
Freddie King, known as the “Texas Cannonball”, was best-known for his searing, assertive solos. (Freddie King Biography.) Freddie King was born Freddie Christian on September 3, 1934 in Glimer, Texas. He began...