Guitar legend Jimmie Vaughn and noted blues singer Lou Ann Barton will showcase a talent-glutted musical extravaganza when the T-Bone Walker Blues Fest presents its 9th annual production September 12-13. Maude Cobb Convention Center will host the concert, provide reserved seating, and place the performers on its outdoor general admission stage as the music will start at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, and at noon on Saturday. Vaughn is brother to famed Stevie Ray Vaughn, and this will be his second local performance. He topped the Blues Fest’s bill in 2009.
Vaughn and Barton will team with their Tilt-A-Whirl band in Longview after returning from a 10-performance summer tour of Europe that opened July 7 in London and closed July 20 in Peer, Belgium. After their August gig at the Calabogie Blues Festival in Ontario, Canada these entertainers will set out for Longview. Blues guitarist Eddie Gales and his Trio will open the show.
Other acts in the Longview schedule are the Rick Derringer Band, Jimmy Wallace and the Stratoblasters, Texas Blues notable Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets, and the 2014 Blues Foundation Award winner Lurrie Bell with his Chicago Blues Band.
Besides being one of music’s absolute best guitarists, Jimmie Vaughn has spent the past 20 years as a pacesetter in quality modern roots music. Bandmate Barton is an original member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Their collaboration makes for a delightful, unforgettable sound. Still, Vaughn remains a humble man despite his endless accomplishments.
“I’m just trying to have fun like everyone else,” he says. “I’ve been playing since I was 13. I play every day. I’ve never stopped. I can’t imagine that I could exist without it.”
Derringer’s prolific music career started when he was 17 when he and his band The McCoys struck it big with their version of Hang on Sloopy. During the 1970s, he played with the Johnny Winters Band, but his days as a top solo act started when his hit Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo came out in 1973. He has scored as a Grammy Award winner as a musician, producer and songwriter.
In his 2009 album Knighted by the Blues, Derringer and wife Jenda co-wrote several songs. The following year he released a brilliant compilation of Freddie, Albert and B.B. King on The Three Kings of the Blues.
The festival brings a broad spectrum of blues talent to Longview. Other artists include Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Cool John Fersuson, Texas Flood, Trudy Lynn with Steve Krase, John McVey & the Stumble, the Alan Fox Band, Tyler Lenius Band, Dagnabit, the Peterson Brothers Band, and the Mathew Davidson Band. Festival President Nick Emiliani can hardly wait to get started.
“We are very pleased with how the lineup has come into place, with the proper blend of styles, from traditional blues onward, that will appeal to a broad audience,” he said. “We will have a number of young performers like the Pattersons, Lenius and Davidson who are carrying on the blues tradition.”
The festival is named after blues superstar and Linden native T-Bone Walker, and up to this point has been held in Walker’s home town of Linden. This year, however, the festival’s governing board began searching for a venue with greater seating capacity than Linden’s 400-seat Music City Texas auditorium. Last January, the panel decided upon the Maude Cobb Center. The festival’s Executive Director Rick Howell has high hopes the new location will expand the festival.
“We think that our partnership with the city of Longview and having the larger convention center available will allow us to take the festival to the next higher level, something it really deserves,” he said.
While the 40,000-square foot Maude Cobb facility having room for 2500 spectators in front of the interior stage, there is also an outdoor stage suitable for a lawnchair-seated audience.
Saturday will also feature a car show and, on both Friday and Saturday, numerous food vendors. Tickets are available at www.tbonewalkerbluesfest.com, which also features background information on the entertainers. For further information please call Andrea Baros at (903) 215-6217 or Gary Krell at (903) 738-3121.
Contributing writer Kelly Bell