Double Trouble Biography

Double Trouble comprises Tommy Shannon (Tuscon, Arizona, USA; bass) and Chris Layton (b. 1955, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA; drums). Although veterans of the blues scene, they waited until 1999 to strike out on their own as a double act instead of acting as sidemen for better-known artists.

Shannon grew up in Dumas, Texas, before picking up a guitar and moving to Dallas. Here he received his real education in the blues from Johnny Winter, who not only played him his record collection but also took him on as his bass player for two years until 1969. Meanwhile, Layton studied music at Corpus Christi University and moved to Austin, Texas. His musical experience lay with jazz and funk bands, but like Shannon, recognised the blues as his home territory as soon as he was exposed to it by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Vaughan had recently added vocals to his role of guitarist for blues group Triple Threat Revue. Layton joined the band which was renamed Double Trouble. In 1980, Shannon joined the line-up. Shannon and Layton were the rhythm section for Vaughan, helping the band garner four Grammy Awards.

After Vaughan’s death in 1990, Shannon and Layton formed a short-lived supergroup, the Arc Angels, with Charlie Sexton and Doyle Bramhall II, and continued to work as session men for artists including W.C. Clark and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Later in the decade, they joined with Storyville to record more albums (including Bluest Eyes and Dog Years). However, the moniker Double Trouble stuck, and they finally released their own album, Been A Long Time, under their own label, which was eventually taken on by Tone-Cool Records. The album featured many artists influenced by Vaughan, including Shepherd, Lou Ann Barton (former vocalist with Triple Threat Revue) and Reese Wynans (former Vaughan keyboard player). The album’s melting pot of influences ranges from gospel/soul (‘Cry Sky’) and R&B (‘Baby, There's No One Like You’), to a cover version of Muddy Waters’ blues classic ‘She's Alright’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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