Grammy-winning blues guitar icon Jimmie Vaughan and his Trio, featuring Mike Flanigin and George Rains, will make their first appearance in NYC on March 16 at the famed Iridium nightclub. The group’s two performances that night (8:30 & 10:30) will celebrate the release of their debut record, Live at C-Boy’s.
The Fabulous Thunderbirds co-founder and solo star has been cited by Buddy Guy to Eric Clapton as one of the greatest blues guitarists of all time. Joining Vaughan in the trio are two fellow Lonestar music mainstays: Hammond B3 virtuoso Mike Flanigin (known for his work with Billy F. Gibbons and Steve Miller), and drummer George Rains, ace of the Texas shuffle, who has played with Vaughan for over two decades. Mike “The Drifter” Flanigan continues the tradition of jazz/blues organ greats of the 1940s-1960s. From his native Texas, he traveled to New York City early in his career to learn first- hand from his idol, legendary jazz organist Big John Patton. It was also during this period that he spent time with other keyboard legends: Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and Jimmy McGriff.
Formed several years ago, the trio calls Austin’s C-Boys’s club their home base, where you can find them most weekends. For Vaughan, the bass-less format of the band presents a challenge that he readily embraces. “As a guitarist, it pushes me in a different direction,” he told the Dallas Observer. “It’s always a learning thing. I have to learn stuff that I’m not necessarily comfortable with. So that’s good. It allows me to go over here on this side and hear things differently.”
Produced by Vaughan, Live at C-Boy’s is culled from two raucous performances last March 18 and 19 at Austin’s C-Boy’s Heart and Soul club. The recordings represent some of the final shows played by original trio drummer, Barry “Frosty” Smith (who passed away weeks later), and they’re fitting testaments to his talents. All three musicians tear it up on barnstorming versions “You Can’t Sit Down” (a 1963 hit for the Dovells) and “Dirty Work at the Crossroads,” as well as a slinky reading of Slim Harpo’s “Scratch My Back” (which Vaughan first recorded with the T-Birds) and a bracing cover of Smokey Smothers’ “Come On Rock Little Girl.” The boys even tip their hat to the British Invasion with a jazzy instrumental rendition of the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
The early release of the record has met with raves, with Guitar World enthusing, “The level of musicianship is top-notch all around, from Flanigin’s magnetic Baby Face Willette-style Hammond magic to Smith’s thunderous drumming to Vaughan’s steady-as-a-rock rhythm and lead playing.” And on his WTF podcast, Marc Maron said,
“The album is yet one more reminder of the unparalleled talents of Jimmie Vaughan. The guitarist – heralded for his clean, elegant yet emotive style of playing – first burst on the national scene with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, selling millions of records with hits like “Tuff Enuff” and “Powerful Stuff.” Vaughan later recorded the album Family Style with his brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, who tragically passed away a month before its release. Since then, Vaughan has been a popular solo artist, releasing a string of top-selling albums such as 2011’s Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites.”
Coming up next for the Jimmie Vaughan Trio featuring Mike Flanigin, a series of special guest soul review shows deliverable via on-line platforms this spring. “Live at C-Boy’s really captures a moment in time and puts listeners in an atmospheric setting that is vintage cool and vintage Vaughan…which of course is the same thing.”