Thursday, July 26, 2001

Review - Welcome

Artist: Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack

Posted on Thu, Jul 26, 2001 at 4:00 AM

Doyle Bramhall II has the paradoxical misfortune of being the son of a Texas blues legend, and, probably because of that, his first few releases veered away from his father's music, instead taking a walk through Paisley Park, courtesy of Wendy and Lisa. But with "Welcome," he follows the modern trend of many adult children by returning to his daddy's house. "Welcome" is undeniably a work that falls within the dreaded, ambiguous category known as blues-rock, but it also incorporates elements of soul, Southern rock and even a bit of Pink Floyd-ish psychedelia. Yet it is tracks like "So You Want It to Rain," and "Smokestack," which unashamedly reflect Bramhall's blues roots, that truly standout.

Every song can't be a masterpiece -- attention-deficit sufferers may have difficulty with the ponderous last few tracks -- but Bramhall's powerful and, thankfully, un-Stevie Ray Vaughan-like guitar work provides a saving grace on even the weakest cut. And though his vocals tend to sound similar to Jimi Hendrix, Bramhall's "Welcome" is, overall, a warm one indeed.

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