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The death of Stevie Ray
From the Isthmus archives, Aug. 31, 1990

In the early 1980s, "Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan burst onto the music scene like a brutal, beautiful fireball," observes staff writer Phil Davis, "and that's how he left it early Monday, when the helicopter in which he was riding with four other passengers crashed into an Alpine Valley hill, killing all aboard." Davis writes that Vaughan's guitar playing "was tough and exquisitely crafted, a shriek of pain and joy so expertly mixed together you could not tell the difference between the two." And when Vaughan played a concert at the Madison Civic Center a few years before, "his guitar wizardry was so instantly familiar that it could easily be taken for granted - the way we take all forces of nature for granted. Until they're gone."

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