NEW WEST RECORDS NW6440
DEAD IN THE WATER–DEVIL MUSIC–BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN–ANGEL CHILD–PRIDE IN PLACE–REPTILE PILOT–WHISKY HEADED WOMAN–STRONG LOVE–RIDE–THING FOR YOU–MISSING LINK
We’ve been fans of Randall Bramblett since his days with Southern-rock torch-bearers Chuck Leavell and Sea Level. Growing up in Jesup, GA, Randall absorbed the field hollers and gospel music of that region, as well as the soul music that we also heard as youths, blasting outta those 50000 watts of WLAC. Randall took up piano at age four, soon followed by guitar and sax. His songwriting has always had that common thread running thru it where we are all being constantly pulled by good against evil, and sin versus salvation. His latest set for New West, “Devil Music,” further explores those themes more in depth.
Randall also writes songs that contain unique characters that embody this constant pull against themselves. Check out the OCD wife in the leadoff cut, “Dead In The Water,” who “drinks that Benzedrine,” and “scrubs the floor with a toothbrush, but just can’t seem to get it clean.” This one features fine guitar from Mark Knopfler, too. “Bottom Of The Ocean” deals with escaping one’s demons, while “Whisky Headed Woman” is built around a simple riff with trance-like piano and sax as complements.
There were several more highlights, also. Randall teams with Derek Trucks on slide guitar to conjure up the spirit of Duane Allman on the Southern-rock gem that is “Angel Child.” Chuck Leavell guests on piano on the uniquely-quirky jazz of “Reptile Pilot,” and the set closes with a stone shot of classic soul, a deep groove that has Randall singing that he’s “your Missing Link” with that “soul connection when you call my name!”
Perhaps the set’s most powerful song is the dark, brooding title cut. Set over a foreboding beat, it tells the sad story of Howlin’ Wolf, who was rejected by his own mother all because he had that “Devil Music in his soul.”
Randall Bramblett’s singing on “Devil Music” is powerful and intense, purposely conveying the pressures we all face to continually do the right thing. The beats are strong, and the groove is rock-solid, exactly what you’d expect from a Southern-rock legend! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.