Doyle Bramhall

Though this Texas troubadour is often mentioned for his association with the Vaughan Brothers or as the dad of ex-Arc Angel/ current solo artist Doyle Bramhall II, no one doubts his pedigree in Lone Star blues-rock and soul or his grasp of the genre's forefathers. He pays tribute to many of them on the recently released Fitchburg Street, named for the location of his family's home in Dallas where he was first exposed to music via the radio and a harp-blowing relative. With a voice that eerily echoes his son's, Bramhall gives funky renditions of O.V. Wright's "Blind, Crippled and Crazy" and two Howlin' Wolf songs, "Forty Four" and "Sugar." His version of "Life By the Drop," a song he co-wrote but Stevie Ray Vaughan made famous, is a solid Texas shuffle that shows off his guitar chops. But not all of the material shines: Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do" makes the Blues Brothers' take look Chess Records-quality by comparison, and too many other tunes showcase a roadhouse flavor that's too generic. He seems to be playing it too safe, as if reluctant to put his own stamp on the songs he obviously reveres.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero