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Nashville Music Photographer : Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan

I figured this picture of me on a longhorn would get your attention…  This is a post about where it all began for me.  But it wasn’t on a longhorn.  I figured I would start it off by showing you a few pictures from my trip to Dallas earlier this year.  There is much more to this post, so please scroll down to see where this is all going.  Especially if you have any interest in how I got started in photography…

I have been a fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan since I was about 14 years old.  I have always said if I ever went to Dallas, I wanted to visit his grave site.  The friend I was visiting surprised me and drove me over there on a rainy day (appropriate, don’t you think?)  We had a little trouble finding it- searching for pictures online that would give us a clue as to where his site actually was within the massive graveyard.  Many have left tokens of remembrance- everything from guitar picks to the random bottle cap.

My friend snapped a few photos of me…

This leads me to the following set of pictures from a recent SRV tribute at 3rd & Lindsley here in Nashville.  I have been going to see Kenny Wayne Shepherd since I was about 16 years old- and I even drove down to Mobile AL by myself when I was in college to see him perform with Double Trouble on Easter weekend, which was especially important to me because I had never seen Double Trouble play before. When I saw the SRV tribute coming to Nashville, I really wanted to go.  It had been ages since I had seen any of them play.  Thinking I was a smart girl to arrive early, I quickly found there was no place to sit at all- the place was packed.  At 6:30pm.  This does not happen in Nashville.  A gentleman and a lady reluctantly let me sit in their extra chair, and I sat there with my camera, watching Reese Wynans roam through the crowd on his way to the back before the show.  Needless to say, the show was amazing.  At one point though, just before he began to play “Life Without You,” Rob McNelley paid tribute to Stevie Ray by telling his story about listening to him when he was young, when nobody else his age was (I can relate to that) and how SRV had inspired him to look even further back in Blues history.  I can relate to that too.  I have done three academic studies on Blues music, one when I was a Senior in High School and another 2 in College.  As Rob spoke it dawned on me that I, a painting major in college, struck out to Clarksdale MS and Memphis TN to document with my camera the people and places of Blues music, both historically, and today, or eh, then.  And by the way, my camera was my Dad’s old F-series Nikon film camera with a broken light meter– it is a miracle that anything I shot actually came out, especially considering that only two months before that, I thought an enlarger was a machine I put my negative into that would spit out a print for me.. rude awakening.  But I digress…)  It was after this trip that I changed my concentration from painting to photography, and thus how I became a photographer.  I  guess somewhere in my head I have always known that was the progression of things, but it wasn’t until Rob spoke and began to play that I realized how Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of the major catalysts for my career as a photographer.  And then I began to cry.  Right there in the concert. A camera to your face works pretty good to hide these things, by the way.  Part of it was also that I was at this very special concert.  Alone.  Again.  At the age of 31.  But most of it was this realization that this man who died before I even knew who he was had apparently impacted my life and career so much…. here are some of the photos I shot at the show (which by the way was not easy… I may love 3rd & Lindsley’s new layout, but I don’t love the RED LED lighting on stage, which is like the worst possible thing ever for a photographer.  Seriously.)  Thanks for taking the time to read-  I usually don’t write much on my blog, but I felt the need to for this one… enjoy. 

I loved how every time I looked at him, Reese Wynans looked like he was having a blast.

This is Rob McNelley, who was amazing.

The great Billy Cox on Bass, who played with Hendrix… This is maybe the only decent shot I got of Chris Layton- it was a really tough angle.  And also he looked mad a lot of the time, which I guess is just the nature of what he does.  He did laugh at me checking out this other photographers gear, which was kind of funny. Tom Bukovac finished the set off with a slow song of Stevie’s – “Rivera Paradise” – following an amazing set by Kenny Wayne Shepherd.  Tom gave Reese the bird for making him follow that act.  But he did it well….
This guy Bart Walker was awesome.  He won the Albert King Award for most promising Blues guitarist.  And rightfully so from what  I could tell…

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