Doyle Bramhall II
Doyle Bramhall II was born in Austin, Texas on December 24, 1968, and his father, Doyle Bramhall, Sr., played drums with various bands, including Texas Storm, which he co-led with Jimmie Vaughan. Taking up the guitar, Doyle II followed his father into the world of the blues, touring with Vaughan's Fabulous Thunderbirds. Late in 1990 he formed a rock band, Arc Angels, with fellow guitarist Charlie Sexton. The other two members of the band were bass player Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton, both former sidemen with Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Arc Angels folded in October 1993 and, after a period of treatment for substance abuse, Bramhall resumed his career, forming the Mighty Zor with Shannon and Layton (and occasionally Sexton). In the mid-'90s, Bramhall released his own debut album and soon thereafter was in demand as a sideman with rock luminaries Roger Waters and Eric Clapton for tours and recording sessions. Clapton used two of Bramhall's compositions, "Marry You" and "I Wanna Be," on 2000's Riding with the King, recorded in collaboration with B.B. King. "Superman Inside," written by Bramhall with his wife, Susannah Melvoin, was recorded by Clapton on the following year's Reptile. Bramhall also led Smokestack, whose personnel included vocalist Melvoin, keyboard player Benmont Tench, guitarist Craig Ross, bass player Chris Bruce, and drummer J.J. Johnson. Bramhall has earned considerable respect from a wide array of musicians for his work as a sideman and as a composer. Among artists with whom he has performed, and sometimes recorded, are his father (who passed away in 2011), C.C. Adcock, Sheryl Crow, Bettye LaVette, Lisa Marie Presley, and Susan Tedeschi. Bramhall continued to support luminaries throughout the 2000s and 2010s, returning to solo action in 2016 with Rich Man, his first album in 15 years. Two years later, he delivered Shades, his first album for Provogue Records.
© TiVo Staff /TiVo
© TiVo Staff /TiVo
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Blues - Released October 5, 2018 | Provogue Records
It took Doyle Bramhall II 15 years to deliver Rich Man, the sequel to 2001's Welcome, but only two to follow that 2016 record with Shades. Appropriately, Shades feels looser than its predecessor and more direct, too. Where Rich Man was dotted with epics, Bramhall keeps things generally concise on Shades, and he also firmly grounds the album in soul. The first sounds on Shades may recall the thick, heavy blues grooves of the Black Keys but by the time Bramhall gets to the chorus of "Love and Pain," he spins the song into classic '60s R&B. He's too restless a musician to stay there -- with the Greyhounds, he kicks up some noise on "Live Forever," the Tedeschi Trucks Band pulls out some deep blues on a cover of Bob Dylan's "Going Going Gone," and he indulges in psychedelia on "Parvanah" -- but he keeps circling back to sounds steeped in Southern soul. It results in a more cohesive album than its predecessor, but it's the lack of fussiness that makes Shades a better record: now that he's just knocking out songs and records, his music feels bracing and immediate. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo