Jimmie Vaughan

Baby, Please Come Home


Guitarist’s celebration of the blues, enlisting his longtime band, features favorite songs by blues masters.

Guitar World premiered a track: Here.See him this week at SXSW.

AUSTIN, Texas — When it comes to the blues today, there are a handful of guiding lights to make sure the music stays true to its powerful source. The sound of pleasure and pain that first sparked musicians to create such a sound is a force that can never be underestimated. The mojo has to be there. Texas guitarist/singer, Jimmie Vaughan has dedicated his life to making sure the blues not only stays alive, but remains full of life and an inspiration to all who listen. He’s held onto the spirit of the blues for more than 50 years, and he isn’t about to stop now.

Vaughan's new album, Baby, Please Come Home — due out May 17, 2019 on the Last Music Co. — is a rolling and righteous celebration of everything the blues can be. The songs can go up, down, sideways and even off in their own distinctive direction, but one thing is certain, each and every one of them is packed with pure feeling and striking originality. That's because while the blues is almost as old as America itself, every time a musician lends their soul to living inside these songs, something new comes out.

There is a constant reinvention for musicians like Vaughan, because the blues demands it. There can be nothing less than a revelation, because that’s how the music thrives. It is almost like an alchemy exists, where instruments and voice join together to make a joyful noise. And above all else the blues, in the capable of hands of Vaughan and his musical cohorts, is a path to salvation. One that is birthed in the ability of songs to make life on Earth a better place to be.

Sometimes it takes decades to finally arrive at a place called home. When a young player starts out as a teenager to find a spot to call his own, there can be enough twists and turns to throw even the most dedicated of souls off the mark. Life can be a tricky endeavor, and between the bright lights and the dark nights, that road ahead can be full of false starts and deceiving roadblocks. But on Baby, Please Come Home, Jimmie Vaughan proves without doubt all his efforts and energy have taken him to the promised land. Maybe that’s because blues is really the art of distillation, seeking the sound where there are no extraneous notes, or unnecessary additions to the feeling of freedom. It takes years to get there, and patience is most definitely a virtue. Above all else, feeling is the most important element of all. With that, all else can be conquered.

“Playing what you feel has always been my main goal,” Vaughan says. Considering he’s had the kind of career that makes him a living legacy, those are no idle words. His first group — when he was starting high school — played Dallas’ Hob Knob Lounge six nights a week, learning the kind of lessons that can't be taught. They have to be lived. Other bands in the ’60s convinced the young man it was time to find a way to play the music he felt the strongest about: the blues. That took him in the early ’70s to Austin, where he carved out a new crew of blues players who shared his musical excitement. Jimmie Vaughan started in the lead, and has remained there.

After worldwide success with The Fabulous Thunderbirds during the ’80s, it came time to leave that band and build his own path in exploring different approaches to the blues. He did not hesitate. And he discovered that he could take it anywhere; there were no boundaries. “I wanted to find out what I could really do,” he says, “and when I started singing it gave me a whole new side to explore. When I was young I didn't really pay much attention to categories of music. I just heard what I liked and decided to explore that. And that’s really what I’m still doing.”

For the past few years, in studios near Austin, has been recording a series of albums dedicated to the songs he's always held in high esteem, recorded by artists who’ve inspired him since his earliest days of performing. His fellow performers on these dates understand that music is intended to ignite the heart and fill the soul. There can be no shortcuts or sleight-of-hand when playing these songs, which come from folks responsible for so much popular music; some who are famous and some who are not known outside the blues or country worlds. On Baby, Please Come Home, those original artists include Lloyd Price, Jimmy Donley, Lefty Frizzell, Richard Berry, Chuck Willis, Bill Doggett, T-Bone Walker, Etta James, Fats Domino, Gatemouth Brown and Jimmy Reed. In so many ways, this is a list of some of the prime purveyors of America’s greatest sounds. That it can range from seminal bluesmen like to one of the founding fathers of modern country music, Frizzell, proves the point that Vaughan has always believed: music is not about what it is labeled, but rather how it makes the listener feel.

On Baby, Please Come Home, those feelings are played to the hilt by some of Vaughan's long-standing A-team, including George Rains, Billy Pitman, Ronnie James, Mike Flanigin, Doug James, Greg Piccolo, Al Gomez, Kaz Kazonoff, T. Jarred Bonta, John Mills, and Randy Zimmerman. They are joined by guest vocalists Georgia Bramhall and Emily Gimble. These sessions, mostly held at San Marcos, Texas’ Fire Station studio, were the kind of recordings that benefit from musicians who’ve been playing this music for decades, who have a near-silent style of communication, where a look or a smile communicates much more than words ever could. As bandleader, singer, and guitarist, Jimmie Vaughan is a master of how everything is captured for posterity. His singing voice has grown into a study in strength. And while he might say, “Sometimes you can sing and sometimes you can’t,” as with everything else the Texan touches, Vaughan knows when it’s right and never stops until it is. He has always looked to his soul as the ultimate barometer of when the music is right, and when that is satisfied Vaughan knows the music is ready to be shared.

The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards once said, “The blues. It’s probably the most important thing America has ever given the world.” To which Jimmie Vaughan would likely add, “Amen.”

Tour dates:

Thurs., March 7   NEW YORK, NY   The Beacon Theatre;  Love Rocks NYC Benefit

Fri.-Sat., March 8-9    NEW YORK, NY   The Iridium

Fri.-Sat., March 15-16  AUSTIN, TX  SXSW  C-Boys

Wed., March 27    DALLAS, TX   House of  Blues; with Buddy Guy

Thurs., March 28  AUSTIN, TX   Austin City Limits Live; with Buddy Guy

Sat., March 30  SALT LAKE CITY, UT   The Eccles Theater; with Buddy Guy

Tues., April 2   DENVER, CO The Paramount Theater;  with Buddy Guy

Wed., April 3  SANTA FE, NM  Lensic Performing Arts Center      

Thurs., April 4   TUCSON, AZ   Rialto Theater

Fri., April 5   PHOENIX, AZ  Celebrity Theater; with Buddy Guy

Sat., April 6  INDIAN WELLS, CA   Garden Jam Music Festival; with Buddy Guy

Tues., April 9  SOLANA BEACH, CA The Belly Up Tavern

Wed., April 10   SIERRA NEVADA, CA  Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Thurs., April 11  OAKLAND, CA  Yoshi's

Fri., April 12   STATELINE, NV   MontBleu Resort; with Coco Montoya

Sat., April 13  SANTA CRUZ, CA Rio Theatre; with Katie Kipp

Mon., May 13,  LONDON, UK Royal Albert Hall supporting Eric Clapton

Wed. May 15, LONDON, UK Royal Albert Hall supporting Eric Clapton

Thurs., May 16, LONDON, UK Royal Albert Hall supporting Eric Clapton

Fri., May 17 LONDON, UK Dingwalls  Album Release Show

Wed., June 19  ATLANTA, GA  City Winery

Thurs., June 20   FRANKLIN, TN Franklin Theatre

Fri., June 21  EDWARDSVILLE, IL (ST. LOUIS METRO)  Wildey Theater

Sat., June 22   BLOOMINGTON, IN  Buskirk-Chumley

Sun., June 23   WESTLAND, MI    The Token Loung

Wed., June 26   CLEVELAND, OH  Music Box Supper Clu

Thurs., June 27   CINCINNATI, OH  Memorial Hal


Sat., June 29   ST. CHARLES / AURORA, IL  Arcada Theater

Wed., July 10,   BETHLEHEM, PA   MusikFest Cafe

Thurs., July 11  ARDMORE, PA   Ardmore Music Hall

Fri., July 12  RIVERHEAD, NY   Suffolk Theate

Sat., July 13   PAWLING, NY   Darryl's Place

Sun., July 14  EAST GREENWICH, RI The Greenwich Odeum

Tues., July 16   BOSTON, MA  City Winery    

Thurs., July 18   LONDONBERRY, NH Tupelo Music Hall    

Fri., July 19   FAIRFIELD, CT  The Warehouse at FTC    

Wed., Aug. 7, LOS ANGELES, CA Hollywood Bowl with Buddy Guy & Charlie Musselwhite

Tues., Aug. 13, HONOLULU, HI, Blue Note Hawaii

Wed. Aug. 14, HONOLULU, HI, Blue Note Hawaii

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