Monday, July 2, 2007




AUSTIN, TX – Ruf Records announces the August 21 release of one of the most exciting and anticipated musical collaborations of the year, On the Jimmy Reed Highway, an all-star, Texas-sized salute to the blues master from two of the Lone Star State’s most prized musicians, singer/guitarist Omar Kent Dykes and guitarist Jimmie Vaughan. Joining Dykes and Vaughan for the ride is a celebrated list of musical guests, including Kim Wilson, Lou Ann Barton, Delbert McClinton and James Cotton.

In addition to a number of festival and special performances throughout the summer to promote the new CD, the core band – Dykes, Vaughan, Wilson and Barton – along with some special guests, will tape a segment of the critically-acclaimed television series, “Austin City Limits,” on August 22. Other shows already booked include the Notodden Blues Festival in Norway on August 4; Blues on the Green in Austin on August 8; Antone’s in Austin on August 24; House of Blues in Dallas on August 26; and the Long Beach Blues Festival in Long Beach, California on September 2.

Known for such classic blues staples as “Big Boss Man,” “Baby What You Want Me to Do” and “Bright Lights, Big City,” among many others, Jimmy Reed continues to be a huge influence on blues and roots music fans over 30 years since his death. He certainly was to a young Omar Kent Dykes growing up in McComb, Mississippi and Jimmie Vaughan in Dallas, Texas.

“‘Baby What You Want Me to Do’ and ‘Big Boss Man’ were allover Top 40 radio,” remembers Dykes. And when Omar played his first guitar, the initial chords he played came from a Reed song. “Jimmy Reed was huge in Dallas,” adds Jimmie Vaughan. “I learned how to play him by listening to the radio.”

Mississippi born and raised Omar Kent Dykes grew up on Jimmy Reed’s music and has honed that influence and others into a three-decade-long career as leader of one of the hottest blues bands anywhere, Omar and the Howlers.

Jimmie Vaughan is a Texas icon, a world-renown guitarist and founder of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the great roots band that led the vanguard of the blues explosion in the 1980s and helped put Austin on the musical map.

On the Jimmy Reed Highway began as an Omar Kent Dykes album, but once Jimmie Vaughan came into the studio “the songs took on their own life,” remembers Omar. “I figured Jimmie would come in and play a couple of solos, but he got so excited about it he stayed for the rest.”

That fever spread to anyone within earshot of the project, drawing a star-studded list of guests, eager to join in on the fun. They included another Austin legend, singer Lou Ann Barton, whose soulful vocals are featured throughout the new album, and who often tours with Vaughan. Not far behind was another original member of the T-Birds, harmonica master Kim Wilson, who reunites with his former band mate Vaughan on three songs. This marks the first time since Vaughan left the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1990 that he and Wilson have recorded together on disc. Three-time GRAMMY winner Delbert McClinton also guests on harp and joins Dykes on lead vocals for another Reed chestnut, “Hush Hush.” And another blues great, James Cotton, lends his distinctive harp sound to the sexy, pleading lyrics of “Caress Me Baby.”

Backing these stars On the Jimmy Reed Highway is an all-star crew, including guitarists Derek O’Brien and Gary Clark, Jr., harmonica player Gary Primich, bassists Ronnie James and Barry Bihm, and drummers Wes Starr, George Rains, Jay Moeller and Omar’s son, Jake Dykes.

Ten great Jimmy Reed songs are book-ended by two original songs that fit like a glove with the others: the opening track, “Jimmy Reed Highway,” and the closing, “You Made Me Laugh,” both written by Dykes and Steve Callif.

“Jimmy Reed’s music is sexy and smooth, and no one’s in a hurry. It’s flat-out cool,” says Jimmie Vaughan. Or as Omar Kent Dykes proudly states in his trademark growl on the first song: “The big boss man is still the man today!”

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On the Jimmy Reed Highway Song List

1. Jimmy Reed Highway 2. Baby What You Want Me To Do/ Bright Lights Big City
3. Big Boss Man
4. Good Lover 5. Caress Me Baby
6. Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth
7. You Upset My Mind
8. I'll Change My Style
9. Bad Boy
10. Baby, What's Wrong11. Hush Hush
12. You Made Me Laugh

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