By Jim Schutze
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There's plenty of reason: The Fab T-Birds spearheaded a blues revival 35 years ago that may only recently have started to wane. It's been debated as to whether blues is in some kind of a slump, like it was in the 1970s before the T-Birds. Most blues musicians are barely working, but then again, so goes the whole economy. If it is in a slump, Vaughan, with his robust touring schedule, is not aware of it.
"I totally ignore the whole music business," he says. "I don't even care what they do. If somebody puts out a record I like or I get excited about a musician, that's an exception."
Ignoring the music business concurs with every serious musician or person who loves music, for the past 30 years. But they do savor their Grammy nominations when they get them, and keep an eye on concert grosses in Pollstar.
Although we live in a space-time continuum that may be of one mind, Jimmie Vaughan might be considered a third-generation bluesman. He is now at the age that Muddy Waters or Gatemouth Brown, the second generation of blues icons, were when he first saw them during his youth in Dallas, or when he played with them at Antone's in Austin.
How might his life and career parallel with Muddy, Gatemouth or John Lee Hooker now that he's the same age they were then?
"Like Pee Wee Crayton said, 'We better get the gettin' while the gettin's good,'" he says. "I was fortunate enough to be on the tail end of that stuff, was able to see a lotta people play in Dallas that I hold up high. But they're still alive in my world."
Vaughan has no fear of having to face down the Disney channel and its attendant music: "My kids don't watch TV. We just keep it off." But inevitably, Vaughan's young kids may listen to Disney radio or something that clashes with everything he holds sacred about music. Then what?
"They have little guitars and they're starting to ask questions," he says. "I play all the time and if I get too loud, they go in the other room and close the door. If they ever want lessons, I would love to teach them."
Almost like a mantra these days, Jimmie Vaughan repeats that he loves the life he lives and he lives the life he loves. He supports Ron Paul, and posts the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights on his website.
"When you get older, you start appreciating things," he says. "I'm a fan of the Constitution. I started reading about our country and remembered one old-lady school teacher in Dallas reading us The Bill of Rights. It made me feel good. I was proud. I enjoy freedom. I like liberty."