Jimmie Vaughan delivers a whirlwind performance in the Big Room


Jimmie Vaughan and the Tilt-a-Whirl Band serenaded audiences Thursday night as they reminisced in the dimly lit Sierra Nevada Big Room.

Without a word, Vaughan thumped his hand against the body of his silky white guitar, sending the night off into a whirlwind of guitar riffs. 

“Are you ready tonight, Chico?” Vaughan said.

Vaughan and the band bursted into a collection of jazz songs ranging from covers of artists, such as Buddy Holly and Slide Hampton, to Vaughan’s complete discography. One song seemed to meld into the next as the band lost themselves in the intricate music they played. 

“We came all the way from Sacramento just to see Jimmie,” audience member Alex Green said. “I’ve always wanted a chance to see him live.” 

Viewers slowly migrated to the front of the house, swaying on the small wooden dance floor to Vaughan’s melodic guitar riffs. Slow songs paralleled Vaughan’s usual Austin, Texas blues; allowing an array of interactions between the band and dancing audience members.

“Now ladies, this one is for you,” Vaughan said. “Every girl needs a slow song to dance to.” 

A few drum beats and organ keys later and the band was in full swing playing Slide Hampton’s “Frame for the Blues”, a sultry jazz classic. Couples littered the dance floor, bathed under soft, blue lights as the soothing music enveloped the room. 

Slamming into a different tone, the band quickened their pace into newer songs off of Vaughan’s album, “Baby, Please Come Home” livening up the dancers. 

During “Texas Flood,” his late brother Stevie Ray Vaughan’s most notable hit, Vaughan swung his signature Tex-Mex Stratocaster behind his head, performing a masterful guitar solo landing on his knees in passion.

The band encored with numerous songs, the most memorable being “Six Strings Down,” an eerie ballad defining the loss of legendary blues musicians, including his brother who died in a helicopter crash. 

The feelings of loss and appreciation dissolved as the show ended, leaving fans with a taste of true, unapologetic blues in their mouth.

Melissa Joseph can be reached at [email protected] or @melisstweetz on Twitter.