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Doyle Bramhall Sr., dead at 62

Posted 3:58pm on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011

UPDATE: Doyle Bramhall, an acclaimed drummer, singer-songwriter and Dallas native, died Sunday at his home in Alpine. He was 62. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Bramhall collaborated with a who’s who of Texas musicians, including Jimmie Vaughan and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and was a fixture of the Austin music scene. One of his final North Texas performances was at this year’s Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival.

Bramhall was scheduled to perform on Nov. 26, at the Granada Theater, with support from Fort Worth’s the Quaker City Night Hawks. A spokesperson for the Granada Theater said late Sunday afternoon its management intends to release a statement regarding Bramhall’s death and the status of the Nov. 26 show at a later time.

Called “one of the all-time greats” by long-time music publicist and friend Bill Bentley, Bramhall’s most recent solo album was 2007’s Grammy-nominated Is It News. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Logan, his daughter, Georgia, and his son, renowned guitarist Doyle Bramhall II.

Bramhall’s bassist of nearly three decades, Jim Milan, said he was “in shock” Sunday and stated that the family will request an autopsy to determine the cause of death. It was initially reported that Bramhall may have died as a result of complications from pneumonia, and although Milan doesn’t rule out illness as a cause, he could not confirm that was what led to his death.

Milan, who spoke with Bramhall early last week, says Bramhall “wasn’t in bed sick for a week before this. As far I know, he was in good health.”

“We were best friends,” said Milan. “He was an amazing guy, amazing musician, great songwriter. It’s a huge loss.”

Services for Bramhall are pending. SEE UPDATE 6 BELOW.

EARLIER POST (11/13/11):

What began as a trickle of Facebook posts, Twitter mentions and this post from the Houston Press was confirmed by DFW.com late this afternoon: Dallas native Doyle Bramhall, the acclaimed Texas musician who famously collaborated with Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others, was dead at the age of 62. He passed away from an undetermined cause at his home in Alpine.

Bramhall, with support from Fort Worth's the Quaker City Night Hawks, was scheduled to play the Granada Theater Nov. 26. One of his final performances in the North Texas area was at this year's Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival. His most recent album was 2007's Is It News. He's survived by his son, revered guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, and his wife, Barbara Logan. I will update this post as I learn more.

UPDATE (11/13/11): A spokesperson for the Granada Theater confirmed Bramhall passed away Sunday, due to, according to the theater, "complications from pneumonia." The theater's management plans to release a statement concerning his passing and the status of the scheduled show soon. I will update this post when I have that information. SEE UPDATE 5 BELOW.

UPDATE 2 (11/13/11): Just got off the phone with Bramhall's long-time bassist Jim Milan, who also confirms the musician's death. Milan says Bramhall died at his Alpine home, but the exact cause of death is not yet known and the family will request an autopsy. Milan doesn't rule out illness as a cause, but could not confirm that was what led to his death. Milan, who spoke with Bramhall early last week, says Bramhall "wasn't in bed sick for a week before this. As far I know, he was in good health."

"We were best friends," says Milan, who performed with Bramhall for nearly three decades. "He was an amazing guy, amazing musician, great songwriter. It's a shock. It's a huge loss."

UPDATE 3 (11/14/11): Just received a statement from Yep Roc Records co-owner Glenn Dicker (Yep Roc was the label home for Is It News): "We are so very sorry to hear of the passing of Doyle Bramhall. Doyle was a wonderful human being with a heart of gold. His soul and music touched so many throughout the years and we feel very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to work with Doyle and call him our friend. He will be greatly missed. Our hearts are with his family."

UPDATE 4 (11/14/11): Just received a statement from C.C. Adcock, who produced Bramhall's final two solo albums: "My life changed and my stars were rearranged by my first chance encounter with Big D [Doyle Bramhall], backstage at Grant Street Dancehall in Lafayette, La. I was 14. He took an interest in me and from the beginning, treated me with respect and as a musician equal. Through Doyle, I would soon have entree into the inner circle of the kingdom of my idols and musical giants -- and a lifetime of acceptance and nurturing from one of the great rock 'n' roll extended families and scenes of all time. Artistically, my friendship and work with Doyle totally co-signed and legitimized me throughout my career. Not to mention the spawning of my relationships with his boys, Lil' Doyle [Doyle Bramhall II] and Chris Hunter, who have also been my lifelong collaborators, closest friends and brothers.

"I'm honored to have written and connected with Big D and I'm very proud of the songs we wrote, the records we got to make and the gigs we played together. He taught that music was medicine. I learned so much. 'Soul' is a word that, in its truest and deepest meaning, describes Doyle. He was an ocean of soul. That this easy-going gentleman will no longer be writing and belting us out those timeless, sweet melodies from behind a most precise and at once lowdown, Dallas-shuffled, Ringo drum kit -- is a shocking loss. Doyle was a massive, super-pro musical talent and an even greater human being."

UPDATE 5 (11/15/11): The Granada Theater has officially canceled the Nov. 26 show and says refunds will be available at point of purchase.

UPDATE 6 (11/16/11): Per the Austin American-Statesman, services have been set for 2:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21 at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd. in Austin.

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