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Interview:
Doyle Bramhall at the Magic Bag, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Doyle Bramhall II hasn't released an album of his own since 2001. But he's hardly been goofing off.

During the interim Bramhall -- the namesake sun of the late, legendary Texas musicians -- spent time recording and touring with Eric Clapton and Roger Waters, producing albums for Sheryl Crow and Tedeschi Trucks Band and recording with Elton John, among others. He was busy writing his own songs, too, and he finally found time to get back to recording and released "Rich Man" in October, offering a musical journey from rock to blues to the African and Indian inspirations, and closing with a nod to one of his heroes, Jimi Hendrix, with a version of his "Hear My Train a Comin'."

And after all that time working with others, Bramhall found himself indeed richer for the experience when he returned to his own music...

It was more than just work that pushed his solo work to the back burner. "It's mainly because I started raising a family," Bramhall, 48, says by phone from Brooklyn. "I had two daughters and I think it just sort of coincided with me not knowing what to do with myself in the music industry. I didn't really know how to fit in. So I just relished my time being a father, and working with Eric."

Bramhall's time with Clapton -- some of which is chronicled on last year's "Live In San Diego" release from 2007 -- was nothing less than stellar. "He is one of the most respected artists ever, really, in rock 'n' roll," Bramhall says, "and to get to tour with him on that level and play music with somebody I had grown up listening to and trying to emulate, it was just incredible. I got to see the world, most parts of the world, touring with him and playing music. It was all pretty surreal."

Working with Clapton, and others, has certainly expanded Bramhall's audience during the past decade or so. "I've done so many different things I have fans coming from all directions," he says. "I definitely have a lot of fans who know me through Tedeschi Trucks and through Clapton and Roger Waters, as well as my solo career. I think it's all just a big soup now."

Bramhall adds that all the experience had a marked effect when he got back into making his own music. "A lot of who I am as a performer and a guitar player now is due to playing with Eric and every night seeing how he works," Bramhall explains. "He sort of took me in and made me feel like I was a great artists all the time. That sort of set me up to having a self-confidence and just sort of believing in myself and knowing what my vision is as an artist now. It took many years for me to feel really comfortable in my own skin, and I definitely feel (Clapton) had a lot to do with that."

"Rich Man" features a tribute to another of Bramhall's heroes, his father, via the track "November." "My father passed away in 2011 and it was definitely the heaviest thing that I've ever gone through in my life," Bramhall says. "('November') is kind of the conversation I never had with him about all the things I should've let go of while he was alive, and let him off the hook with certain things. I had my own hangups about our relationship, I think because I looked up to him so much and wanted to be jsut like him for so long. In order for me to get any of my own self I had to make a little bit of a break and have some autonomy, and I think that sort of hurt him in a way. But I'd gotten through that and I wanted to tell him about it but didn't get a chance to do it at the time, and he died. But now i feel like I can at least sing that conversation to him every night."

Doyle Bramhall II and Future Stuff

Thursday, Feb. 9. Doors open 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $25.

Call 248-544-1991 or visit themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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