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Doyle Bramhall II - Shades

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 10 / 12 / 2018

Doyle Bramhall II - Shades
Label: Provogue Records
Format: CD


Enjoyable fifth album from seasoned guitar slinger Doyle Bramhall II shows him in a singer-songwriter role

Doyle Bramhall II has been a sought-after guitarist to the stars, including Roger Waters, Elton John, Gregg Allman and a list that goes on. He is best known as Eric Clapton’s musical right hand man collaborating closely with the legend in both the studio and on stage. 'Shades' is Bramhall’s fifth album and the first for the Provogue label. The opener 'Love and Pain' takes on gun violence, a song inspired by last year’s concert massacre in Las Vegas. “You know what you know,” Bramhall sings, “Living through a bloody education… History ain’t never gonna change.” The song is edgy and intense, dark as well, mirroring and reflecting on the current world climate. “Don’t you be scared boy… It’s nothing but my hammer” is the 'Hammer Ring' lyric. The mood again is dark, but with some good stinging guitar licks. The songwriting is somewhat inspired here, but the songs are delivered with an instrumental proficiency. It is a pretty good album that gets better as it progresses. 'Everything You Need' features Eric Clapton. “I want to be all that I can be,” is the lyric,”so I can be the one that loves you… We got to make it because I know that we were meant to be.” With Clapton’s inspired and beautiful guitar assistance, it is a lovely number, elevating beyond the album’s dark start. 'Searching For Love' is with Norah Jones who adds a lovely vocal sound on this duet. “Try and take it easy/You just take it so hard” and “Nobody said it would be so hard,” Norah and Doyle sing, as the guitar licks trickle down. It is another fine number. Bramhall’s greatest strength is as a collaborator and his work with his guests here brings out his best. On 'Live Forever' featuring the Greyhounds out of Austin Texas: “You’re gonna live forever,” the band sings, rocking out, including heavy guitar and an intense drum beat. A solid, strong number offers the lyric “Time to take back control.” Soft and smooth, soothing and soulful, the lyric on 'The Night' goes “I’m only going to be the one who loves you… I’m never going to be the one to hurt you.” “Loving you, loving me” Bramhall sings on 'Consciousness' and then “One step towards ecstasy.” “The moment is all there is,” he reflects. 'Shades' in the end is adept and well rendered; a pretty good album. Its lyrics also make you think.

Track Listing:-
1 Love And Pain
2 Hammer Ring
3 Everything You Need (feat. Eric Clapton)
4 London To Tokyo
5 Searching For Love (with Norah Jones)
6 Live Forever (with Greyhounds)
7 Break Apart To Mend
8 She'll Come Around
9 The Night
10 Parvanah
11 Consciousness
12 Going Going Gone (feat. Tedeschi Trucks Band)

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