Welcomeby Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack
This guitarist has slogged it out in a slew of Texas-bred blues-rock outfits (including the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Arc Angels) and has been praised to high heaven by no less an authority as Eric Clapton -- who chose him as a six-string foil on what's rumored to be Slowhand's last tour ever. But there's always been some question as to whether Doyle Bramhall was possessed with the kind of "X" factor needed to carry the load on his own -- a query this disc answers with a resounding "yessiree." While certainly rooted in the Texas blues, as evidenced by the arcing, high-lonesome tones of expansive tunes like "Cry," Bramhall and his bandmates in Smokestack festoon their tunes with swatches of classic rock redolent of the heady days of Cream and Band of Gypsies. A rich wash of keyboards, courtesy of Benmont Tench (best known for his work with Tom Petty's Heartbreakers), sloughs over a handful of the album's tunes, but at its core, Welcome is a pure guitar throwdown. Hard-charging songs like "Green Light Girl" and "Smokestack" rumble along, driven by Bramhall's lyrical riffing and the deft percussion work of J.J. Johnson. Like a hill-country road, the disc goes through patches both smooth and rough. But as the title implies, there's always something welcoming along the way.
- Release Date:
- Sbme Special Mkts.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
While the whole world seems to be looking at cats with hats and Strats in search of the new Stevie Ray Vaughan, here's a guy who's been the best-kept secret of the Austin blues scene for the longest time. Doyle II is the son of Doyle Bramhall Sr. who wrote a lot of songs with SRV and was also SRV's main vocal inspiration (just listen to Bramhall Sr's album "Birdnest on the Ground"). DBII was fortunate enough to be able to learn his chops from SRV and other great Texas players and he learned his lesson well. Like Stevie, he's got a HUGE guitar tone and an incredible voice, his singing and playing are imensely soulful, and he doesn't like to be pinned down as 'just blues'. This album, a mixture of Texas blues with psychedelic late '60's/early 70's rock and funk, is a testament of that. This is a great album, folks! Recorded live in the studio with very few overdubs the way guys like Hendrix and Led Zeppelin used to do it, the album sounds powerful from the first track, "Green Light Girl, down to the last "Cry" and will leave you emotionally drenched. I don't know how that lady from the All Music Guide arrived at her comments, but I have a feeling she put the CD in upside down. Either that or she has a hole in her soul! BUY IT!
Can't seem to get the CD out of my player. It's stuck in there and that's good. Real good. The songs on this CD are both beautiful and rowdy rockin'; take 'So You Want it to Rain', for example, and the surprise at the end of 'Smokestack'. It's fun with a capital 'F'. Way to go, Mr. Bramhall.
I think it will be hard to keep this guy under wraps for too much longer. Been semi-following this guy from the Arc Angels days, but ''Welcome'' is by far his strongest most complete effort to date. You'll hear, Stevie and Jimi, but don't think ''sound-alike'' think ''passing the torch''. If you like guitar rock records, you'll be more than pleased with this one! Solid, solid record!
This is an incredible album. He sounds like the ghosts of Jimi and Stevie Ray, but with a great style all his own. He is a phenominal guitar player. The solos here are mindblowing. The songs are solid, and very enjoyable. If you love good, straight ahead blues rock, you must own this!