Tommy Katona, lead guitarist for the Dallas-area tribute band Texas Flood, took his lead for what to do beyond their tribute to ace Texas guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan from, well, Stevie Ray himself.
Katona, who immersed himself in the guitarist’s music to pick up his playing style, noted that Vaughan’s shows featured not just his originals but covers of such performers as Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy and others, filtered through Vaughan’s trademark guitar work.
After starting nearly a decade ago as an SRV tribute act, Texas Flood — its name taken from Vaughan’s debut album — plays a similarly broad mix of originals and blues-rock covers.
“We actually go beyond Stevie: blues, Hendrix, even a Led Zeppelin medley,” explained the Hungarian-born Katona. “We follow the formula of what Stevie was doing. He was being original in putting a twist on doing the songs of other people.”
Texas Flood — Katona on guitar, bassist Steve Buckner and drummer Travis Montoya — brings their blues-rock to The Backyard for a Saturday night show, three years after performing at Hewitt’s Warren Park as part of the Hewitt Summer Concert Series.
Katona, 35, grew up as the son of a Hungarian guitarist, playing in his band as he grew older and absorbing the style and sound of American rock and blues from recordings. He visited Vaughan’s hometown of Dallas for an SRV fan tour and reunion in 2006, 16 years after the Texas guitarist died in a Wisconsin helicopter crash, and when Katona got the chance to move to the United States, he picked Dallas.
He gravitated to Buckner’s SRV tribute band Voodoo Blue, which evolved into Texas Flood and, some 10 years later, a national fan base. “Not just the U.S., but the world is full of tribute bands. People want to hear what they know,” said Katona. “For us, it just worked.”
By staying in the flavor of Vaughan’s style, Katona’s trio has found its fans ready to follow as the band expanded its repertoire song by song, cover by cover. By sticking to what they like to play, Texas Flood maintains its onstage energy and enthusiasm, Katona said. “We like to play songs we really like, but you’ve got to put on a good show,” he said.