In the 1990s, Doyle Bramhall II played in the Arc Angels, a Texan band that featured Bob Dylan’s partner Charlie Sexton and the recently (at that time) SRV’s widowed Double Trouble blues kitchen. Furthermore, he produced several albums and played gigs alongside some legends like Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Roger Waters, and Elton John just to name a few. Being left-handed, he plays his guitar strung upside-down. Perhaps, in some part, derives his tasteful and rich guitar tone. Doyle’s music partially belongs to the Soul/R&B branch of the blues, letting clear that black music is encrusted within him. There’s no doubt that Doyle’s music is, nowadays, pushing the borders, contributing significantly to expand the boundaries of the blues and rock. In spite of the prolific music production, Doyle has released only five studio albums, from which we picked our top 10 songs.
10. “Soul Shaker”
This song is part of Doyle’s third album Welcome, released in 2001 by Doyle Bramhall II & The Smokestack. It has powerful riffs, very well-put guitar insertions, and a fuzzy solo. It shows Doyle’s rock side, a minority but always present in his albums.
9. “The Reason I Live”
From Doyle’s debut album, Doyle Bramhall II (1996). The song has a particular pop appeal, something like a glance related to George Harrison music. The fuzzy guitar lines make all the difference by fulfilling the harmony until receiving the highlights in the solo.
It’s an acoustic blues, part of the second album released by Doyle, Jellycream (1999). The crudeness and melodic vocal lines reveal the Hendrix heritage on Doyle’s music. This song received a lot of arrangements throughout the time, mainly in live performances.
7. “The Samanas”
It’s an almost ten-minute piece split into three acts. Doyle declared in interviews that this songwriting was inspired by a trip to Africa, including having African typical instruments in the recording. It’s a multi-layered song present in the album Rich Man, released in 2016.
6. “I Wanna Be”
Also part of the Jellycream album, this song, along with “Marry You”, was recorded by Eric Clapton in the album Riding With The King. Back to the detached guitar riff, “I Wanna Be”, has a nice chorus and a clean solo.
5. “Problem Child”
What guitar tone! And…What a riff! You can check it on the album Welcome. It has mixed guitar lines, sustained by the consistent bass and drum work.
4. “Green Light Girl”
Another rock piece inside the album Welcome. It contains energetic vocals and solo. Once, the guitar tones are flawless.
3. “Rich Man”
“Rich Man” includes orchestral instruments like viola, violin, and cello. Some dissonant melodies contribute to the mood of the song. This is the self-titled song of the album Rich Man, released in 2016.
2. “Searching For Love” (with Norah Jones)
This song is a duet between Doyle and Norah Jones. It’s impressive to hear how their vocals and instruments compliment each other. In the extended final part, they really show how gifted musicians they are. This piece of art is part of the album Shades (2018).
1. “Everything You Need” (feat. Eric Clapton)
The groove featured in “Everything You Need” summarizes the soul music side of Doyle Bramhall II. All the instruments, vocals, choirs, and melodies are flawless, really contributing to the song. The piano harmony and Clapton’s guitar solo are the highlights. This song is also part of the album Shades.