Doyle Bramhall II review…November 2, 2016…

DOYLE BRAMHALL II

RICH MAN

CONCORD RECORDS   CRE 00208

MAMA CAN’T HELP YOU–NOVEMBER–THE VEIL–MY PEOPLE–NEW FAITH–KEEP YOU DREAMIN–HANDS UP–RICH MAN–HARMONY–CRIES OF AGES–SAHARAN CROSSING–THE SAMANAS–HEAR MY TRAIN A COMIN’

Doyle Bramhall II is one of the most in-demand guitarists, composers, and producers on the contemporary scene today, regardless of genre’.  He was hand-picked by Eric Clapton to play guitar on the “Me And Mr. Johnson” and “Sessions For Robert Johnson” albums, and he produced and wrote material for Sheryl Crow’s “100 Miles From Memphis” album.  He’s also been featured on Roger Waters’ “In The Flesh” concerts, and with Derek Trucks in the Tedeschi-Trucks Band.  It is little wonder that he has not released a solo project since “Welcome” in 2001.  But, his fans can rejoice with the recent release of “Rich Man” on Concord Records.  There are twelve originals and one cover that encompass the paths Doyle has traveled and the things he’s seen over the last several years.

His iconic father passed in November of 2011.  Bramhall II had been traveling extensively throughout India and Northern Africa during a period of self-awakening, and many of these songs reflect that time of his life.  A very bluesy cut leads off, and would’ve been right at home on Crow’s “Memphis” sessions.  It’s a story of love gone horribly wrong, as Doyle tells his soon-to-be-ex that “Your Mama Can’t Help You No More.”  “The Veil” follows a more soulful, R & B-ish groove, as shortly after the “big day,” Doyle realizes the “evil that waits behind the veil.”  “New Faith” features duet vocals from the daughter of Ravi Shankar, one Norah Jones, on a song  that, along with “My People” and “Hands Up,” all share a common thread–they are all songs of hope for an eventual spiritual re-awakening, urging us to realize that hatred is not the answer to society’s problems.

We had two favorites.  “November” mines a heavy Stax-like groove with a cool horn section.  Doyle wrote it in tribute to the R & B records he and his dad would listen to as he was growing up.  And, the set closes full-circle, as it began, on a blues note.  This time it is Doyle’s smokin’, stone-cold read of Jimi’s “I Hear My Train A’ Comin.”

Doyle Bramhall II has seen his share of trials and tribulations over the last several years, but, in the process, he has emancipated his soul shown the ultimate in resolve.  He is, indeed, a “Rich Man.”  Until next time…Sherryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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