In the world of rock 'n' roll, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Randall Bramblett keeps the best of company. His list of credits includes acclaimed work with Sea Level, Steve Winwood, Traffic, Gregg Allman, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm and many more.
See Through Me, Bramblett's first solo album in two decades, now shows the consummate team player taking center stage and revealing his own distinctive viewpoint. The album's 11 songs offer an arresting collection of collages and portraits, examining the bittersweet poinance of rough times; recognizing the strength it takes to admit weakness; and seeking the inherent beauty in damaged goods.
Born and raised in the south Georgia town of Jessup, during childhood young Randall was first introduced to soul and rock 'n' roll through his older sister's record collection. "One day she brought home some Ray Charles, and it was all over", he laughs; "from then on I was hooked". He began listening to R&B music on the distant radio airwaves of WLAC in Nashville. "The station would only come through at night, so I would lay awake in bed listening to all this great old R&B, gospel and blues. It was a major influence on me, and then came Bob Dylan and Van Morrison..."
After playing in R&B bands throughout high school and college, Bramblett began writing his own songs. He earned a name for himself as a session horn player in Macon and Atlanta. Signing to an album deal with Polydor, he released a pair of albums - That Other Mile and Light of the Night, but Bramblett continued working as a sideman for others, among them Gregg Allman. In the late 1970s Bramblett joined his longtime friend Chuck Leavell as a member of Sea Level for several years.
But by the mid-1980s Bramblett had pretty much opted out of music (although he would occasionally participate in a "fun" project with Levon Helm or the Mussel Shoals All Stars). He was living in New Orleans pursuing non-musical interests when Steve Winwood called to invite him back into the performing fray: "Working with Steve is really inspirational, and going on tour with him really got me fired up again". Bramblett played on the "Roll With It" tour, recorded on Winwood's Refugees of the Heart album (and it's subsequent tour), and was invited to become a member of Traffic on their 1994 reunion tour.
In the wake of these successes, Bramblett now returns to the spotlight as a solo artist, but pursuing a different, simpler direction: "My two earlier albums were made with New York studio players, and the whole thing was a lot more 'produced' than I would have liked. With See Through Me I've tried to make honesty the most important element".
A new album called "Strange Conversations" will be out in early 2001. A cut entitled "Get In Get Out" from this forthcoming CD was recently featured on Oxford American's Southern Music CD (July/August issue).
Hear Randall perform "See Through Me", "Shining Birmingham", "My World", and "Nothing Words" on WTMT.net