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Steamboat Springs
Feb 20 – 21, 1981
11” X 17” (27.94cm X 43.18cm)

This rare full-color poster of Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of three full-color pieces commissioned by Steamboat Springs in 1980 – 1981. Using the process color method, 3 overlays were manually cut over a black and white base image; the top and bottom overlays are trapped by the black, but the center image has overlays “kissing”. The purples and violets are heavily muted while the reds and blues are pastelled. A stark yellow backlights Stevie from the right. This high-contrast and faceted graphic approach is a personal homage to one of my colleagues, Guy Juke and his distinctive style – the other was a Jerry Lee Lewis, produced for Antone’s a year earlier. The sweeping forms behind Stevie are another attempt to visualize his music and give it shape.


This is the only poster of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble that I did for Steamboat Springs, a venerable venue in the heart of Austin’s Sixth Street entertainment district. One of four full-color posters commissioned by Craig Hillis who ran the club at the time, the other three being Beto Y Los Fairlanes, Traveler, and Joe King Carrasco. As the 21st was my birthday, I attended the second night show. SRV and Double Trouble -- consisting of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton -- had been together for just a little over a year, but from the quality of the music, it seemed as though it was a union that had always been.

SRV was born on October 3, 1954 in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Texas. His older brother, Jimmie Vaughan introduced him to both the guitar and the blues. Influenced mightily by Jimi Hendrix, Lonnie Mack and Albert King, Stevie was a member of some local Dallas bands, including The Blackbirds and The Chantones, before following Jimmie down to the incandescent music scene in Austin of the 1970s. He apprenticed at the 6th St. Antone’s location, where he was specifically favored by Albert King. Following stints with Paul Ray and the Cobras and others, SRV founded The Triple Threat Review with blues chanteuse Lou Ann Barton in 1977. When they split up in 1980, Triple Threat became Double Trouble through the process of subtraction. In 1982, the three-member band broke out with a stellar performance at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in much the same way that Muddy Waters had done at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960. John Hammond Sr. signed the band to Epic Records, where they produced their debut album Texas Flood. The following year they released Couldn’t Stand the Weather, and in 1885, Soul to Soul. Following 1986’s Live Alive, Stevie entered rehab to staunch his substance demons, successfully recovering to produce In Step in 1989. Clean, sober and serious, SRV joined up with Jimmie and in 1990 they released Family Style. /but fate would have its say. On August 26, 1990, after playing at a blues festival in East Troy, Wisconsin, Stevie was killed when the helicopter he had taken from the festival to Chicago crashed shortly after take off.

The performance at Steamboat in 1981 was standard incredible. Having paid his dues, Stevie was confident and less than a year from his professional breakout. When Lou Ann quit the year before, SRV had taken up the vocal slack. The incredible voice that had emanated from him had been honed to perfection over the following year, and was now melding with the power of his guitar to produce the band’s signature sound. The show at Steamboat lasted until half past two, and Stevie carried it over to After Hours, a ‘til dawn club at Sixth and Congress. When I left at 3:30, he was still playing. For the better part of a year, Austin still had SRV all to itself, with him doing at least 2 or 3 gigs a week in such clubs as Alexander’s, the Austex, Rome Inn, and Soap Creek Saloon, reincarnated from its Bee Caves location first at the old Skyline Club on the north end of town and then at the Backroom location near the Austin Opry House. No one knew then that he had less than a decade to live and perform, but everyone attending Steamboat on my birthday in 1981 knew we were lucky to have him.

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