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Playing Around: Todd Tijerina Band 

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One has to wonder how freaked out Stevie Ray Vaughn would be if he knew how many blues musicians experienced a Zen moment when they first heard him on the radio -- how he made them pick up the guitar and head down the garden path. Stevie lives within the hearts of so many -- it's sort of creepy.

While Vaughn's influences on rock and blues are myriad, perhaps his lasting legacy is the legions of these young musicians who strive to re-create his rollicking roadhouse sound and persona. While they're not exactly as hard-core as Elvis impersonators, these guitarists play Texas blues with note-by-note Stevie references -- from how long they hold it to how far they bend it to how loud the damn thing is in the end.

Only really good Elvis impersonators can pull it off without being a joke, and they're the ones with Elvis-soul. They aren't just pretending to be the King, they are the King. Blues musician Todd Tijerina has a long way to go before he is Stevie, but that doesn't mean he's not good -- his band is tight, he's a proficient player, and his lyrics are cocky and eloquent. If he'd sing and play with a little less restraint and a little more heart, Tijerina would be great -- but until then he's got a good sound and is on the right path.

The Todd Tijerina Band plays Quinn's this weekend. Call 385-0766.

-- Kristen Sherwood

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