I remember several years ago watching a program on PBS called “In Session.” It featured deceased blues legends Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King. According to Wikipedia, the program was recorded live for television in 1983 at the CHCH-TV studios in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It was released as an album in 1999. Vaughan was 29 years old when the recording was made, and King was 60.

I don’t really listen to a lot of blues music, but I love me some Stevie Ray Vaughan. I don’t know what it takes to be a great blues guitar player, but whatever “it” is Stevie Ray had it in spades. The man could just flat-out play, and he was a great singer as well. Even all these years after his death (Vaughan was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1990), his music still resonates with me in a way other blues music does not.

On this particular program, however, Vaughan is visibly in awe of the man he is jamming with. Albert King was a huge influence on Vaughan, a hero to him, and that is clearly evident as the two swap licks. Vaughan lays way back when King solos, his face beaming as he watches one of his idols go to work. The funny thing is, though, when Stevie Ray does get a chance to solo himself, he shines. There’s no hesitancy in his playing, despite being somewhat starstruck. He proves he deserves a spot on the stage next to one of the most influential blues guitar players of all time.

There are times I allow myself to be defined by my depression. Even I am really succeeding at something, I have that feeling that I’m just sort of getting away with it. You might say I defer to it. Here’s an example. I have a 4.0 GPA in the graduate program I’m enrolled in. Someone might look at that and say I am really rocking my classes. I tend to see it as catching a lot of breaks, faking my way through the hard stuff, and … well, I don’t even know what else. I just don’t feel like it should be that way.

You may be doing better than you ever imagined at something and still feeling like it’s not good enough. You’re tearing through your solo, but you still feel like the blues master is doing it better. In reality, though, you are totally on top of things. You’re blowing it away, but you’re bowing before the depression that you’ve known for so long.

Maybe it’s time to recognize we can all trade licks with the king. Depression deserves no reverence, and it deserves no respect. So turn your speakers up to 11 and jam out with these two legends and think about the things you’re rocking at right now. It might even chase your blues away.

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