Acclaimed Singer-Songwriter-Guitarist's First Solo Release Since 2001!
Doyle Bramhall II's latest album Rich Man , long awaited by fans who have followed Bramhall's collaborations with artists as far-ranging as Tedeschi Trucks Band to Roger Waters, is his first in over a decade. The album reflects both his extensive experience in the interim with such artists as Eric Clapton, whom he's worked closely with for more than ten years (and who hails him as one of the most gifted guitarists he's ever heard) and Sheryl Crow, for whom he produced and composed songs for on the 2011 album 100 Miles from Memphis, as well as an intensive spiritual and musical journey that took him to India and Africa in search of new sounds and an inner peace sought following the death of his legendary father Doyle Bramhall.
Rich Man opens with the pointed "Mama Can't Help You," a "call for a reckoning," says Bramhall, about "entitlement, accountability and taking responsibility for yourself, your circumstances, actions and resulting consequences." The second track "November," being "a love song to my late father," has the essence of their favorite R&B records the two listened to as Bramhall grew up. The contemporary groove easily recalls the horn arrangements they loved, but with a decidedly personal statement.
"The Veil" comes out of "the breakthrough" of discovering "a person's dark, ugly, true nature, hidden by a veil of contrived charm," Bramhall continues. "It's a warning to look beyond the veil and a call to do better." "My People" is distinguished by instrumentation including baritone 12-string guitars, harmonium, and sarangi – the North Indian classical bowed string instrument performed here by one of its top players, Ustad Surjeet Singh.
"New Faith" features Norah Jones and "Hands Up," is titled with the phrase associated with last year's racial unrest in Ferguson, Mo, and elsewhere. "Rich Man," the album's title track, says Bramhall, "is about living for the day, recognizing it's all we have and finding strength and personal spirituality. It's about gratitude for spiritual and personal peace." "Harmony," like the preceding "Rich Man" and other album tracks, is marked by a string arrangement from multi-instrumentalist Adam Minkoff, a Bramhall band member.
"Cries of Ages" is "inspired by great leaders in our history and the hope that the goodness fostered by their teaching will help us overcome this moment of crisis," says Bramhall, again citing Ferguson "and the racism in this country." "Saharan Crossing" then jumps the Atlantic to North Africa, employing the melon-shaped Arabic oud (lute) played by his own oud teacher Yuval Ron, the renowned Israeli composer/player/arranger. "Saharan Crossing" naturally segues into "The Samanas," which addresses Bramhall's "journey into the world to find who I was." Rich Man concludes with an evocative reading of Jimi Hendrix's "Hear My Train a Comin'."