excerpt of review by noted blues historian, teacher, writer and W.C. Handy National Blues Award winner Art Tipaldi:

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day by Day, Night After Night - Craig Hopkins

    Craig Hopkins … has produced the most impressive and complete Stevie Ray Vaughan biography you’ll ever read. This 400+ page book is a must for everyone who loved the pure energy of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Hopkins has self-published only 3,200 copies of this weighty tome. Thus, it can only be ordered from his site, stevieray.com. Once this highly limited edition sells out, it may not be available again.

    [With the participation of Stevie’s mother and knowledge of the project by Jimmie Vaughan] Hopkins makes it very clear that he affords the family the opportunity to be involved at whatever level they are comfortable.  For this effort, Hopkins conducted over 100 interviews in the past year with Stevie’s famous friends like Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Doyle Bramhall, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, Reese Wynans, and Johnny Winter. At the same time, Hopkins tracked down members of every band Stevie played in since his first band, The Chantones, formed in the summer of 1965. There is a full three page listing of Vaughan ’s bands with every member listed (except the short lived Epileptic Marshmallow) and Hopkins has found pictures of many of these early bands with Stevie the kid smilin’ over a huge guitar. These listings, pictures, and interviews are found nowhere else.

    There is a picture from 1965 of Jimmie’s first band, the Pendulums, then a picture and business card for Stevie’s first band, the Chantones. There are great stories of Jimmie’s early star abilities and how supportive their parents were, driving Jimmie to whatever gig he had. In fact, Hopkins tells that their parents would come to whatever shows they could make, painting a very different picture from the SRV VH-1 Legends biography.

    There’s Stevie’s 1971 letter to the editor about study halls in his high school, stories about Stevie’s trouble in school because he refused to cut his hair, and other early facts.

    The illustrations Hopkins unearthed, including hundreds of personal photos, handwritten set lists, rough draft lyrics, posters, contracts, riders, and guitar designs, offer a nostalgic look back. The lengthy interviews with former girlfriends, managers, band members, techs, producers, promoters, and fans are presented as if they are sitting across from you. And Hopkins’ extended look into the Austin music scene accurately recreates the early days of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Triple Threat, Antone’s and Double Trouble.

    This is no Wikipedia fast food biography; this book offers one of the most thorough, moment by moment biographies I have ever read. As the title suggests, the book is organized into a day by day arrangement which shows clearly that, unlike today’s American Idol today, star tomorrow mentality, the road to Stevie’s fame was a long and arduous one.

    Once Vaughan moved to Austin in 1972, Hopkins is able to trace the day by day aspect of the book by following each band’s schedule. Hopkins cites every magazine or newspaper story that mentioned or featured SRV. In addition, he references every recording, studio or bootleg, television broadcast, radio show, and award that included Vaughan . And if you’re as guitar gearhead, the stories of all SRV’s guitars and gear will put you in Fender heaven.

    Hopkins ’ style with each band Vaughan was part of is to let the members of the band speak at length about the days with Stevie. The same is true of every SRV incident. The 1982 appearance at the Montreux Jazz festival is given five pages of great pictures and impressions of those there including Jackson Browne. Likewise, the failed Bowie tour is covered in four pages. Stevie was left on the street holding his bags as the tour bus pulled out, but by reading all aspects of the affair, each reader can form his own opinion of who was right and who was wrong.

    Stevie’s eventual substance and alcohol collapse in 1986 is told in the same way, through the eyes of those closest to the [downward spiral] and subsequent recovery. Hopkins has also included Vaughan ’s four page testament at one of his AA meetings. Vaughan ’s rise from the ashes is the archetypal parable of how one rediscovers the true path from the darkest bottom. The stories from Martha Vaughan, Raitt, Shannon, Layton , and Wynans offer inspirational looks into SRV after his commitment. There is a great Raitt story about calling Stevie to the stage when he attended her Atlanta show on 11/12/1986, becoming his first performance after his sobriety date.

    Through it all, Hopkins has painted the most intimate portrait of Vaughan he could. Amid the turmoils one experiences living the musician’s life, Stevie was a kind hearted and generous human being. He was born with a gift, but he also knew that he had to work hard to elevate that gift. He was respectful to the blues masters he idolized like Albert and B.B. King, Johnny Copeland, Albert Collins and others, and, at the same time, he was very giving to others with his own talents. This book is so very relevant to every music fan, but the interviews offer so much more. Without knowing it, Hopkins has presented a life story of anyone born into the innocence of the 1950’s, who lived through the turmoils of the late 1960’s, who experimented with the fast life of the 70’s and 80’s, and ultimately rediscovered life’s purpose.