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‘Music was in my blood,’ Bramhall says

SHARE ‘Music was in my blood,’ Bramhall says

Doyle Bramhall II was "inclined" to become a musician. "My whole family is musical," Bramhall said during a phone interview from Moline, Ill. "Music was in my blood, and I looked at it as my destiny."

Bramhall will open for Eric Clapton in the Delta Center on Wednesday, Aug. 1. The music will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets.

Bramhall's father — Doyle Sr. — was a drummer for blues great Lighting Hopkins. He also worked closely with Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Even before he was born, Bramhall II attended various gigs, thanks to his mother. "I was in the womb when she'd take me to the shows," Bramhall said. "And I believe when I was finally born, I had an idea of what music was all about."

From his early days, Bramhall was able to excel in anything artistic, but he had problems with logic, he explained with a laugh. "I could do art and music but didn't do well in math and history."

Although he shared his famous father's name, Bramhall didn't feel any pressure in following his daddy's footsteps. "In fact, I wanted to be just like him. I began playing drums, and then played bass. When I got my first guitar, before I was a teenager, I felt it was the first real instrument that I could speak through."

Bramhall began playing guitar because it expressed his emotions.

"I felt what I played," he said. "It wasn't intellectual. It was feeling. I locked myself in my room for a year playing to old albums like the (Rolling) Stones and the Beatles. And then I found Sly & the Family Stone and Al Green.

"That kind of music was a lot different than the new wave my peers were listening to. It was nice to be an individual, but it also isolated me. At the same time, it made me feel special."

As the years progressed, Bramhall began taking his music seriously. "The only problems I faced were ones that I created myself. When I was in my late 20s, I realized that I didn't have what it took emotionally to deal with record companies. That's when the drugs came into the scene."

After kicking the habit, Bramhall decided to give music another chance. In 1999, he released "Jellycream," which didn't sell well but was liked by those who bought it. "It must have sold, maybe, 7,000 copies. So there wasn't any other way to go but up."

Still, the album opened a couple of important doors. Former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters called up Bramhall to join his band.

While on the road, Bramhall got another call from Eric Clapton, who wanted to record "Marry You" and "I Wanna Be" for the Clapton/B.B. King album "Riding with the King."

"After the tour with Roger ended, Eric called me up and we wrote a couple more songs for his 'Reptile' album," Bramhall said. "And he asked me go on the road with him. And that's what's happening now."


E-MAIL: scott@desnews.com