When You've Lost Someone You Love: Doyle Bramhall Has Died at the Age of 62

Thirteen days from now, Doyle Bramhall was to return to the Granada, scene of this performance in 2007. But that show will not take place: The Dallas-born singer-songwriter and drummer -- a former Chessman with Jimmie Vaughan, a frequent collaborator with Stevie Ray ("Life by the Drop," one among many including his own solo works) --- died this morning at his home in Alpine at the age of 62. The Unfair Park in-box is now filled with myriad missives from friends and fans who have passed along the awful news: Preston Jones confirms what Facebook originally whispered.

We'll have more on DC9 tomorrow and in the paper Wednesday; Bramhall deserves much, much more than a brief farewell on a Sunday night. Somewhere, deep in the print archives, is an interview we did years ago; I'll dig it out, though I recall even at this late date he was among the most humble and gracious of subjects, quick to deflect the significance of his influence on Stevie, as singer and songwriter. This is worth reading tonight: Margaret Moser's wonderful profile of Doyle from the Austin Chronicle in '03, an unvarnished recap of an estimable life.

His rock & roll lifestyle began in the Chessmen, the blues-rock outfit that brought Bramhall and Jimmie Vaughan together. The Chessmen were kings of Dallas in the Sixties, virtual royalty as a band and good enough to land opening gigs with the superstars of the day.

"Breakfast with Jimi Hendrix, lunch with Keith Moon, and dinner with Janis Joplin," nods Bramhall.

Bramhall and Vaughan migrated to Austin together in the early Seventies, their families sharing the same U-Haul. It was a musical exodus that saw other Dallas players like Denny Freeman, Paul Ray, and Jimmie's little brother, Stevie, follow. Jimmie was playing in Storm, which held the One Knite's Monday slot for four years. Bramhall's Nightcrawlers took the Tuesday slot, and Paul Ray and the Cobras landed Wednesdays. The Nightcrawlers were a blues-rock outfit respectable enough to record for A&M in L.A. but too drugged out to respond to George Harrison, in the next studio, when he wanted to meet them.

Take it away, Chessmen.

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