NOW ON VOD! Get ready for a Texas-sized flood of untold stories in Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan: Brothers in Blues, the insightful music documentary by writer/director Kirby Warnock. The roots of the famous Vaughan brothers are laid bare as the film dives deep into their upbringing in post-war era Texas. The Vaughans grew up in Oak Cliff, a working-class suburb of Dallas and ground zero for tacky subdivisions of identical cracker boxes. We see how older brother Jimmie gets drawn into performing music in public while still in junior high, with little brother Stevie Ray itching to follow in his footsteps.
We follow the brothers through the Texas music circuit of the 1960s, where bands could make a living just playing around the state. Then the blues hit the Vaughans hard as they are blown away by the work of Freddie King and Albert King. In Austin in the 70s and 80s, Jimmie formed The Fabulous Thunderbirds, while Stevie Ray became a legend with his band Double Trouble.
“The roots of the famous Vaughan brothers are laid bare…”
Far out on booze and hard drugs, both brothers break the snake’s back and get sober with the help of Eric Clapton. Then tragedy strikes after a show in 1990, when a helicopter carrying Stevie Ray and members of Clapton’s band crashed into a mountain, killing everyone. Featuring archival footage and interviews with musicians, including Jimmie Vaughan, the documentary shows the two Texas boys before they got covered by the shadows of their legends.
Warnock is a journalist who writes for Buddy magazine, a Texas music monthly that started in Austin in 1972 and is now based out of Sulphur Springs. This background is the reason why Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan: Brothers in Blues contains much more investigative journalism than you usually find in a music doc. Instead of just a visual showcase of a career with interviews and concert clips, the filmmaker goes off the edge of the map into “Here there be dragons” territory. He digs up stuff that literally has never been seen anywhere else.
Now, before everyone thinks this is some kind of salacious expose of the notorious party whirlpool of the dark side of Austin, that is not the case. You will not get to find out how Lola Outta Controla got her nickname. Heck, it is doubtful you could even investigate the dirty deeds of those days now, as anyone who was there can’t remember or breathe anymore. Instead, we are treated to a deep dive into sock hop confidential.
"…skips the skin and gets down to the bone."