As I wrote in my column in the September issue, we should take this weekend’s big blues bru-ha-ha at the American Airlines Center, helmed by Eric Clapton, as something of a history lesson. There is a reason the greatest blues guitarists are descending on Dallas. This city’s musical heritage runs deep, and its role in the development of the blues—from Blind Lemon Jefferson to T Bone Walker to Freddie King to Stevie Ray and so many more—is particularly significant. But it is a history that is often overlooked and under-documented. In addition to big concerts like Clapton’s Crossroads fest, what we need are more champions of that history, more people like Alan Govenar, to help record it, interpret it, and champion it.
And just as I say that, enter stage left: Kirby Warnock, who will be screening his latest Dallas-centric music documentary, From Nowhere: The Story of the Vaughan Brothers, at the Texas Theatre tonight.
Warnock is one of Dallas music history’s stalwart champions. His films—like When Dallas Rocked, which told the story of this city’s raucous musical scene in the 1970s—have captured unique perspectives on overlooked moments in Dallas’s and Texas’s cultural history. The former editor of Buddy magazine has also written about the need for this city to honor its cultural heritage.
The film tonight will further that mission in a few ways. Not only will it tell the story of how two kids from Oak Cliff rose the ranks of the music world and entered the pantheon of the blues, the screening will raise money for the Stevie Ray Vaughan Scholarship fund at Greiner Academy and Top Ten Records, the legendary record store-turned-non-profit that hosts a local music archive.
Warnock’s film features interviews with Billy Gibbons, Jackson Browne, Nile Rodgers, and, of course, Jimmy Vaughan. I’m hoping Vaughan talks in the film about the Dallas he described to me when we spoke for my column, a place clogged with juke joints and honky-tonks, where musicians cross-pollinated styles and traded songs and licks.
“I would just stand there and soak it up,” Vaughan said.
Here’s the trailer: