Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen to play tribute to Steve Ray Vaughan
Source: Dustin Douglas MusicDustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen — Baby Girl
PLAINS TWP. — With their penchant for guitar driven, often heavy blues, the trio of Dustin Douglas, Matt Gabriel and Tom Smallcomb, aka Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen, can draw comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble in the band’s heyday as a power trio.
On Jan. 21, the Wilkes-Barre-based three-piece will showcase those similarities. The Gents perform a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan at 10 p.m. at the River Street Jazz Cafe.
Douglas credits local music promoter Tom Moran for staying after him and his bandmates to perform the SRV tribute.
“He’s been after us to do this, and we’ve always had stuff on our plate,” Douglas said.
Douglas said Vaughan was one of his biggest influences growing up.
“I wear it on my sleeve style-wise, so it was cool to delve back in,” Douglas said of rehearsing for the show.
“The tribute thing can be a bit passe,” he added. “For some reason, in this town, unless you’re doing something like that, you don’t draw as big a crowd. I didn’t want to get lumped into that, but I’m glad we did it.”
The guitarist and songwriter said he’s not aware of many SRV tributes throughout the country, a dearth that led Moran to see the potential for such a show in The Gents.
“At the end of the day, I think he felt like it was in our wheelhouse,” Douglas said. “We’re rehearsing our asses off, but if we just went out and did these songs without a ton of rehearsal, I think it would seem pretty natural.”
Douglas said the format for the show is “not set in stone,” but he expects to start with a set of his band’s original blues before getting to the SRV catalogue.
“We’ll get the crowd warmed up,” he said. “We’ll do a short set and then do almost 20 Stevie songs. Then, depending on time, we’ll probably come back out and do some more Gentlemen stuff.”
Douglas said he and The Gents have taken pleasure in the preparation.
“When you’re a musician full time, unless you’re doing something like this, you don’t really sit and listen to stuff like you used to,” he said. “When I do something like this, I almost look at it like method acting. I think we all do as a band. We watch lots of live stuff. Tommy is the king of that.”
The frontman said the group took inspiration from a 1986 performance by Vaughan and Double Trouble.
“The thing I took from it is that he did in the ’80s what I want to do now, which is make the blues cool again,” Douglas said. “He did it naturally. He brought this lethal guitar trio into the forefront again.”
Douglas said constructing the setlist has been a challenge with careful consideration put toward taking songs from each of Vaughan’s albums and catering to his different tempos and techniques.
Since promotion began for the show, Douglas said he’s been surprised by the people who have expressed interest.
“We know your guitar heads and gear heads and blues guys are going to be there, but I think he touched people you don’t realize,” Douglas said.
In addition to the strength of the songs he’s poised to play, Douglas said he’s looking forward to putting Vaughan’s memory in the forefront for an evening.
“Whenever we do covers, even in our own set, I essentially want to wave the flag of that artist,” Douglas said. “We put our heart and soul into the songs … and we’re trying to spread that music to other people.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
IF YOU GO:
What: Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan by Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen
Where: River Street Jazz Cafe, 667 N. River St., Plains Township
When: 10 p.m. Jan. 21
Ticket information: Tickets cost $8 in advance and are available by visiting riverstreetjazzcafe.com.