Few Texas musicians are as recognized and revered as the late Stevie Ray Vaughan – he not only led a blues revival in the 1980s, but is one of a small handful of musicians recognized as heroes of the electric guitar. To this day, the late artist is praised for his musical skill, but even he had his idol: his older brother Jimmie. The elder Vaughan brother, while not as famous as Stevie, is celebrated as one of the founding members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Before Stevie Ray Vaughan’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dallas City Council approved a memorial honoring the Vaughan brothers. The statue was to be erected in a park nearby their Oak Cliff childhood home. But as of now, the statue has yet to be made, and some supporters wonder if it will ever happen.
Kirby Warnock, a documentary filmmaker, is aiding the effort to have the memorial made. According to Warnock, the main problem behind the project’s lag is money.
“Because of budget cuts, [the city] doesn’t have money for maintenance. They’ve taken the position that they’re not going to install anymore statues or artworks until they have the funds to maintain them for at least 20 years,” Warnock says.
But Warnock and fellow Vaughan fans have banded together to raise money so the memorial can be installed and maintained.
“We’re trying to raise $68,000. We’re going to kick in $28,000 to the statue fund, because the city budgeted this back in 2005, and we’re trying to give them more funding. And then we’re donating $40,000 to maintain it for 20 years. That comes out to about $2,000 a year.”
Despite being the city where the two brothers grew up, Dallas has yet to install a Vaughan memorial. Even Austin has a well-known Stevie statue that attracts fans from all over the world.
“They were born and raised here, and really got their start here… Dallas has not really honored its creative class,” Warnock says. “We are very good at honoring businessmen and politicians, but unlike Austin, we don’t recognize our artists or musicians up here. I think it’s pretty important we start trying to do that. We have a very rich music history, we just don’t write it down.”
A couple of famous musicians agree with Warnock on that point, and have decided to help his cause with donations.
“We’ve got some help from some big names. Steve Miller autographed a Fender Stratocaster guitar for us to auction off a fundraiser on September third, and Eric Clapton has autographed a guitar for us also,” Warnock says. “So that’s just kind of a recognition of how revered the brothers are among professional musicians.”