If wishes were horses we'd all ride.
--Doyle Bramhall II
It was only a matter of time. I recently learned that my boy, Doyle Bramahall II, the best barrelhouse blues-rock guitar player you never heard of, is now dating my girl, Sheryl Crow, the most under-rated lyricist in pop music. Isn't that sweet? Lucky him. Mr. Bramhall boasts a notable Rock and Blues pedigree which I'll leave you to explore for yourself on the bio-page of his website. I discovered Mr. Bramhall when he opened for Gov't Mule at Irving Plaza some time around 2000 or so. I thought he blew those fellas off the stage and to be blunt, after perusing his personal site and considering his relative pop-culture obscurity, I can't help but think he's been
the victim of sub-par management. Some time around '03 or '04 I caught a taped show from Roger Waters' then recent tour on VH1 or something and lo and behold, there was Doyle on lead guitar, effortlessly soaring through the solo of the Pink Floyd anthem, "Comfortably Numb." Hey--I know that guy. He spent much of the rest of the decade playing second fiddle to none other than Mr. Crossroads (jr.) himself, Eric Clapton.
I think the thing with Bramhall is that though he's got a handfull of tunes with good lyrics and he's a pretty good singer, overall he's not the greatest lyricist but obviously wants to write lyrics like every other recording artist does. A big point of contention within Zeppelin was that John Paul Jones felt that his attempts at writing were too often dismissed. On Zeppelin's DVD there's a clip in which a reporter asks Jones about the band's use of his lyrics writing to which he replies a bit tersely, something to the effect of, "Oh, I suspect we shall get around to it." Bramhall should have started something called the Doyle Bramhall Band a long time ago and recruited a heavyweight singer song-writer to share those duties and play "front-man" on stage, thus relieving him what I must assume is a self-imposed pressure to do it all. Creative people can be that way. Sometimes, he doesn't seem comfortable singing, if you ask me. Maybe Sheryl can handle that for him, eh? I caught a concert by Sheryl at the Beacon Theater in '99. If you're not familiar with all of her self-titled second album, you should be. There's a lot more to it than those 3 or 4 monster hits. She's known to use a Drop-D tuning occasionally and many of her lyrics are quite sumblime--in an every-day kind of way. And, oh yeah--she's a big Zeppelin fan too.