Eric Krasno Band, Doyle Bramhall II

Eric Krasno Band, Doyle Bramhall II

November 4 · Friday

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$18 Advance / $23 Day of Show / $28 Reserved

This event is 21 and over

Eric Krasno
Eric Krasno
For nearly two decades, Eric Krasno has been an omnipresent figure in popular music. We've heard his virtuosic, innovative guitar playing with Soulive and Lettuce (both of which he co-founded), seen him onstage supporting the likes of the Rolling Stones and The Roots, watched him take home multiple GRAMMY Awards, and benefited from his deft, behind-the-scenes work as a producer and songwriter for everyone from Norah Jones, Tedeschi Trucks, and 50 Cent to Talib Kweli, Aaron Neville, and Allen Stone. Krasno's rousing new solo album, 'Blood From A Stone,' reveals a previously unknown and utterly compelling side of his artistry, though, inviting us to bear witness as he both literally and metaphorically finds his voice.

"I’ve been writing songs with vocals for other people for a while," explains Krasno, who sings for the first time on 'Blood From A Stone.' "With these songs, we initially wrote them thinking others would sing them, so when I was in the studio with different artists, sometimes I'd introduce one of the tracks and they'd record it, but it wouldn't necessarily work out. Eventually, I realized it was because I'd written these songs for myself."

It might sound strange hearing Krasno discuss the idea of "finding his voice" so deep into a career already chock full of remarkable songwriting, but as he sees it, there's something new, something intimately personal about this album that urged him to step up to the microphone for the first time. And though so much about this album feels like uncharted territory, in some ways, it brings him all the way back to his musical roots.

"Growing up, I listened to Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and the Grateful Dead, along with a lot of hip-hop," remembers Krasno.  "When I linked up with Soulive, we played instrumental music, and that's the path I’ve mostly been on ever since. This record loops back to those initial bands and songs I loved, but with the added experience and influence of the past 20 years."  

When it came time to begin formal work on the album, Krasno left his home in New York City to join Dave Gutter from Rustic Overtones in Maine for the first writing session, which turned out to be so productive that the two had penned most of the album in just a few days. In a shift from the looser, jam/funk spirit that has marked Krasno's previous work, the songs for 'Blood From A Stone' took shape as tight, infectious, highly structured blues and R&B-based tracks. Krasno and Gutter commiserated over recent relationship turmoil and their shared love of music like Bobby “Blue” Bland's ‘Dreamer’ and Muddy Waters' ‘Electric Mud’ to create a sonic palette at once classic and modern, deeply personal and totally timeless. Deciding to strike while the iron was hot, the duo headed into Gutter's barn along with Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce) to lay down what they envisioned to be demos, but in fact turned out to be the backbone of the album.

"We set up an old tape machine and pieced together gear and borrowed microphones and cobbled a little studio together," remembers Krasno. "It was one of those things where, once people heard the songs we were coming up with, every musician in town started coming by with gear and helping out. We didn't realize we were actually making the record, so there was no pressure, and that let us experiment in really cool ways. There's a lot of rawness to the recordings, and that really bled into the performances and my vocal delivery."

It's apparent from the first moments of the funky, Hendrix-esque album opener "Waiting On Your Love" that Krasno's voice has been an ace up his sleeve this whole time. Rich, warm, and full-bodied, his tone blends earnest sincerity with casual swagger and, much like his guitar playing, taps into a deep vein of emotion. On "Torture" and "Jezebel," he sings as a bruised survivor of love-gone-bad, while the slow-jam of "Please Ya" channels Otis Redding soul, and "On The Rise" builds off a bass-and-percussion groove with psychedelic samples and gorgeous harmonies. The album has its lighter moments, too, from "Unconditional Love"—inspired by the spirit-lifting arrival of Gutter's daughter after school every day—to "Natalie"—a romantic ode to an automobile originally written during Krasno's Soulive days. It's an eclectic collection, to be sure, but it's all tied beautifully together through Krasno's understated vocals and skillful songcraft, which always leaves enough room for him to stretch out on his six-string.

As brilliant as Krasno's guitar work is throughout the album, though, Derek Trucks arrives as a special guest on "Curse Lifter"—a hypnotic instrumental that lands somewhere between Santana and the Allman Brothers—to give him a real run for his money.

"Derek is my favorite guitar player in the world," says Krasno. "I've known him for close to 20 years, because the first national tour Soulive ever did was with the Derek Trucks Band, and we've been super close ever since. I've watched him progress into the best, and it was really important to have him on this record."

The track's gorgeous, evocative guitar harmonies are a fitting way of bringing things full circle for Krasno, who's so often utilized his guitar in the service of others. In the end, he may not have drawn blood from a stone, but Krasno discovered deep wells of soul and untapped reservoirs of talent by recording this album, and he opened up entirely new worlds for himself as an artist in the process.

"It's something I didn’t know was there," he concludes. "I would have been totally content just being a guitar player and writing songs for other people, but this inspiration just happened, and I'm really glad it did, because it's changed things. I didn't know I had this in me.”
Doyle Bramhall II
Doyle Bramhall II
Doyle Bramhall II is one of the most distinctive vocalists, guitarists, composers and producers in contemporary music. Indeed, none other than Eric Clapton, with whom Bramhall has worked with for more than a decade, lauds him as one of the most gifted guitarists he has ever encountered.

As the son of the late Texas music legend Doyle Bramhall, he was raised in a home filled with the blues and rock ’n’ roll styles indigenous to Texas. The elder Bramhall played drums and was also an accomplished songwriter and vocalist, not to mention a lifelong collaborator with childhood friends Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, who composed such SRV signature tunes as “Change It” and “Life by the Drop.”

But the younger Bramhall—a rare and distinctive guitarist who plays left-handed, but with his instrument strung for a right-hander and flipped backwards--had his own connections with the Vaughan brothers: Early in his career he was befriended and supported by Stevie. When he was 18, Bramhall was recruited by Jimmie to play with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. After Stevie’s tragic death in 1990, Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton formed the Arc Angels with Stevie Ray’s fabled Double Trouble rhythm section of drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon.

The Arc Angels’ self-titled debut album yielded such widely popular songs as “Living in a Dream” and “Sent by Angels” before disbanding. Introducing himself as a solo artist in 1996 with Doyle Bramhall II, he followed with a pair of critically acclaimed albums, Jellycream (1999) and Welcome (2001). It was then that Bramhall’s unparalleled guitar mastery won the attention not only of Clapton but Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who showcased him on his 1999, 2000 and 2002 In the Flesh concert tours and companion CD and DVD.

Clapton, meanwhile, came next. He featured Bramhall songs and guitar as part of his Grammy-winning Riding with the King album with B.B. King, also of 2000. He then recruited him full-time, and they toured together worldwide, thrilling fans with their dramatic guitar interplay and drawing comparisons to past Clapton triumphs such as Derek & the Dominoes. Clapton’s ensuing 2004 albums Me and Mr. Johnson and Sessions for Robert J both showcased stirring Clapton-Bramhall guitar duets recorded in the same Dallas room where Robert Johnson recorded his classic blues songs in 1937. Bramhall’s own songwriting talent was highlighted in Clapton’s Reptile (2001), Back Home (2005) and The Road to Escondido(2006) albums, and he later co-produced Clapton (2010) and Old Sock (2013). In 2013 he again joined Clapton on his 50th anniversary tour and played on his 2014 album The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale.

In addition to his work with Clapton, Bramhall became an in demand composer, guitarist and producer. He enjoyed high profile collaborations producer, with a broad range of other major artists, including T-Bone Burnett, Elton John, Gary Clark, Jr., Gregg Allman, Dr. John, Robert Randolph, Allen Toussaint, Billy Preston, Erykah Badu, Questlove, Meshell Ndegeocello and Sheryl Crow, for whom he contributed songs and produced 100 Miles from Memphis (2011) and performed on her tour supporting it. In 2015 he teamed with ace Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks (with whom he was proclaimed “The New Guitar Gods” by Guitar Worldwhen both served in Clapton's band in the late 2000s) in the Tedeschi Trucks Band, also starring Trucks’ wife Susan Tedeschi. Bramhall’s songs and guitar playing have graced each of the three, critically acclaimed Tedeschi Trucks Band albums issued to date.

With all this outside activity, Bramhall hadn’t made a solo album since Welcome. But besides honing his skills as a producer, he had stockpiled for himself songs apart from those written for others, and when they were selected and sequenced for his fourth solo album, Rich Man, (scheduled for release on September 30, 2016 via Concord Records), they documented an intensive spiritual and musical journey that took him to the other side of the world in search of new sounds, and an inner peace sought following the death of his father in 2011.

In the four years following his father’s death he had extensively explored India and Northern Africa, these trips being manifest on Rich Man’s inclusion of the North Indian classical bowed string instrument sarangi—played by virtuoso Ustad Surjeet Singh—and the bowl-shaped Arabic oud lute, played by Bramhall’s own oud teacher Yuval Ron, the renowned Israeli composer-player-arranger.

Also appearing on Rich Man is Norah Jones, with whom Bramhall had been performing with every six months or so in a concert series. The duet “New Faith” was emblematic of the entire album in its hope that people can look beyond all that divides them and find a new way of thinking that enables peaceful progress through mutual respect and understanding.

Rich Man, then, is a watershed achievement for Bramhall, both in terms of the many music styles in the tracks—which begin and end with his fundamental American blues influences and in between follow his global music explorations and arrangements—and the inner examinations resulting in the spiritual growth expressed in the lyrics.

“I read a quote from Charles Mingus,” Bramhall stated upon the completion of Rich Man. “He felt like he was not playing his music as much as creating the sound of his life and experiences through the medium of his music. I looked at his life and related to that, and tried to capture the same thing on the album.”
Venue Information:
The Ardmore Music Hall
23 East Lancaster Ave
Ardmore, PA, 19003
http://www.ardmoremusic.com