Texas music lost a titan this weekend. Singer, songwriter and blues drummer Doyle Bramhall Sr. died early Sunday at his Alpine home of apparent natural causes. A crucial piece of the 1970s Austin blues scene, Bramhall was 62.
"He was just incredible," said friend and fellow blues scene veteran Mike Buck. "Great songwriter, great singer, great drummer, he kinda had it all."
A native of Dallas, Bramhall got his start with Jimmie Vaughan in the Chessmen, which became a popular Dallas act in 1960s. After moving to Austin, Bramhall and peers such as the Vaughan brothers, Paul Ray and Denny Freeman helped establish Austin's reputation as a blues mecca.
Many know Bramhall best from his work with Stevie Ray Vaughan. The younger Vaughan played guitar in Bramhall's band the Nightcrawlers, while Bramhall wrote several songs Stevie Ray recorded, including "Dirty Pool," "The House is Rockin,'" "Looking Out the Window" and "Life by the Drop." Bramhall played the drums on the Vaughan Brothers first and only album, "Family Style." "If you listen to Stevie singing, you can hear a lot of Doyle in there," Buck said.
Bramhall also released three albums under his own name. The first two, "Bird Nest on the Ground" (1994) and "Fitchburg Street" (2003), are made up largely of blues and soul covers. "Is It News" (2007) is filled with all-original material.