In the 15 years since his debut album, Welcome, Doyle Bramhall, II has been in great demand. Along with a decade working with Eric Clapton in the studio and onstage, he’s has collaborated with a lengthy list of artists including Elton John, Roger Waters, Sheryl Crow, and on the Tedeschi-Trucks Band’s last three albums. This extended break from solo work directly informed Rich Man’s highly complex and eclectic direction.
Behind Bramhall’s vocals, his layered guitar accompaniments – combining standard electric with baritone, 12-string, and bass create – distinct and diverse textures, occasionally enhanced by other guitarists.
On “Mama Can’t Help You,” Chris Bruce (right speaker) and Woody Jackson (left speaker) are heard. Along with his own guitars, the eerie, modal “My People” adds the 12-strings of Paul Stacey and Adam Minkoff, plus Ustad Singh’s bowed sarangi.
The powerful “November” honors Bramhall’s dad, the respected Austin drummer who died five years ago.
The instrumental backings establish powerful moods behind his voice on the riff-driven “Keep You Dreamin’” and the foreboding blues “Hear My Train A-Comin’.” Providing contrast is the austere, elemental acoustic sound of “New Faith.”
In all, Bramhall’s vocal and instrumental skills, songwriting, and unique blend of complexity and simplicity all award our patience.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s February ’17 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.