Doyle Bramhall II is one of the most distinctive vocalists, guitarists, composers and producers in contemporary music. Indeed, none other than Eric Clapton, with whom Bramhall has worked for more than a decade, lauds him as one of the most gifted guitarists he has ever encountered.
As the son of the late Texas music legend Doyle Bramhall, he was raised in a home filled with the blues and rock 'n' roll styles indigenous to Texas. The elder Bramhall played drums and was also an accomplished songwriter and vocalist, not to mention a lifelong collaborator with childhood friends Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, who composed such SRV signature tunes as "Change It" and "Life by the Drop."
But the younger Bramhall -- a rare and distinctive guitarist who plays left-handed, but with his instrument strung for a right-hander and flipped backwards -- had his own connections with the Vaughan brothers: Early in his career he was befriended and supported by Stevie. When he was 18, Bramhall was recruited by Jimmie to play with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. After Stevie's tragic death in 1990, Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton formed the Arc Angels with drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon of Stevie Ray's fabled rhythm section.
Since 2008, and in the year following his father's death, Bramhall had extensively explored India and Northern Africa. The influence of these journeys manifest in Rich Man's inclusion of the North Indian classical bowed string instrument sarangi -- played by virtuoso Ustad Surjeet Singh -- and the bowl-shaped Arabic oud lute, played by Bramhall's own oud teacher Yuval Ron, the renowned Israeli composer-player-arranger.
"I read a quote from Charles Mingus," Bramhall stated upon the completion of Rich Man."He felt that he was not just playing a style of music so much as expressing the sounds of his life and experiences through the medium of music. I very much relate to that."