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Arc Angels

Formed shortly after the death of Texas guitar hero Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Arc Angels may have been too good a story to be true. The quartet paired Vaughan's outstanding rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton with lead-singing guitarists and Texas Vaughan protégés Charlie Sexton and Doyle Bramhall II. Taking their name from the initials of the Austin Rehearsal Complex where they originally started jamming, the group released its self-titled debut album in 1992, with the thought that it would be the first of many. Arc Angels came closer than any other album at the time to carrying on Vaughan's incredible torch of blues, rock, and post-Jimi Hendrix guitar pyrotechnics. Tracks like "Living in a Dream," "Good Time," "Spanish Moon," and the Vaughan dedication "Sent by Angels," all bore the late guitar legend's influence, but without mimicry. For Shannon (who'd also worked previously with another Texas guitar-slinger in Johnny Winter) and Layton, the album was a catharsis after losing their friend and bandmate; for Sexton and Bramhall II it proved that two lead-singing lead guitarists could suppress their egos enough to function together. Trading vocal lines during verses recalled another Texas band, ZZ Top; former Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan added tasty work on piano and Hammond organ, and the Arc Angels seemed poised for the blues/rock summit as they toured in support of their debut until late 1993. But the perhaps inevitable competition between the throaty voiced Bramhall II and smooth-singing Sexton would eventually surface, and even more so during extending guitar solos of one-upmanship. Worse -- especially for Shannon and Layton, who had seen Vaughan nearly kill himself before getting straight -- was the increasing frequency of Bramhall II's substance abuse. By October of 1993, this ascending band decided to concentrate its efforts elsewhere, and separately. The exception was Shannon and Layton, who'd created such a stylistic rhythmic impact with Vaughan and worked so perfectly together that they were essentially a package deal. The two recorded through the 1990s on Vaughan tribute projects and with another group that showed the late master's influence, Storyville, while Bramhall II went through treatment and Sexton continued on a solo career that had begun when he was a teenager in the mid-'80s. By 1998, a clean and sober Bramhall II started a band called the Mighty Zor, with Shannon and Layton as his rhythm section. When Sexton showed up for a few gigs to jam with the trio, a series of unofficial Arc Angels reunion gigs -- mostly in Texas -- was born. Whether a second CD will ever be recorded, or if the Arc Angels will remain one of those one-album comets like Hendrix's Band of Gypsys, remains to be seen. Shannon and Layton continue to get hired together in the new millennium, while both Bramhall II and Sexton release solo CDs and likewise get work as session men with major artists (former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters and Bob Dylan, respectively). Regardless of whether it's followed up or not, Arc Angels provides lasting proof that the spirit of Vaughan lives on. ~ Bill Meredith, Rovi
full bio

Comments

I'm not feeling it considering their backgrounds
Saw them @ the Paradise in Boston. Incredible!!
If only there were more music from them.....
kvons1
Another short lived but outstanding group of the 90's. Living In A Dream----gre a t tune. ARC Angels debut album---grea t !
Arc Angels showing up on my playlist.... w h a t a surprise! Haven't heard these guys in a while. Nothing like the music out of Texas...make s me miss home!
wELL said Jan...Dam I keep hearing there is new material coming out...yet...
xodiaq8
Man, I miss these guys making new music. Storyville isn't so bad, but they were just missing something the Angels had. DBII was at his best with them, too, I think.
The Arc Angels had that nearly imposible chemistry of having an authentic
"blues ear" and "rock attitude" in their music. Of course the majority of great musical artists are cursed/bless e d with large egos and rarely stay unified artistically for a great lenth of time. But when it works
even temporarily - you get a glimpse of genius. You get the Arc Angels.
In case some of you aren't aware of it, there is a recent live release that includes a live performance on cd and dvd, plus an ep with three new songs. Very nice indeed!
I MISS EM
callawayvusa
I saw them a couple Times at Club Paradise on 6th Street in Austin....A W E S O M E ! Missin 6th street and the Backroom too.
spena
Where are they now??
this albulm cover would make great for a tat!when i get the extra cash i'm getting it,minus the name though,i think not sure yet.
great band!love all their tunes!
tomatopie34
I saw them in Nashville in 92 or 93 and you could already see the tension between Sexton and Bramhall onstage, but it was still an amazing show.
Saw them in Atlanta, GA. two nights ago. Had the chance to meet them after the show. Great guys !!! One of the best rock bands, hope they record a new CD, I'd buy it hot off the press. Texas knows how to put out great music.
Cynaera
Oh, I envy you, Al Andrade. Hope you get to see that show! Arc Angels is a band that catches a listener's ear, whispers into it, and makes a point without having to scream - although it's obvious from the undercurrent s that they COULD shake the earth with a scream, should any of them choose to do so. One of my favorite bands!
They are coming to the HOB in Anaheim July 09.... Awesome !!!!
I wish this band were still together. I can't get enough of them!
My favorite band of the 90s! Los Lonely Boys could be the next Arc Angels
jlbopa
What an underrated band! So much talent.

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