Lil’ Dave Stuart is the Triad’s Stevie Ray Vaughan clone. Though he’s from the part of Florida that produced Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet, Stuart seems to have gotten infected by the Texas guitar flu. But what makes Stuart interesting is that although he could fill up a set with SRV, he places just enough traces around to let you know who you’re dealing with before he jumps into the Mississippi Delta mud. Stuart admits that he got his blues education by working backwards through Clapton and Hendrix to the roots in Howlin Wolf and Hooker. He did his homework well–Stuart’s Wolf is on the best you’ll hear anywhere–his version of “Howlin for My Darlin’” would even please the irascible Wolf. One of Stuart’s greatest strengths is that he doesn’t do impersonations of the artist, but he gets so close to the spirit of the piece that you feel as though you’re hearing the real thing done by it’s originator.

Stuart played around the area for years with a bigger band, Lil’ Dave and the Howlin’ Blues, but broke it up in 2000, starting the Lil’ Dave Band in 2002 with Josh Preslar on bass and Leon Baker on drums. It’s a leaner, tighter sound, and in addition to the Vaughan and Wolf stuff he’s added more original tunes.

You can catch Stuart pretty frequently at Fat Daddy’s on U.S. 70 in Raleigh and at 42nd Street off Hillsborough in Raleigh.