Summer Songwriter Series featuring Randall Bramblett
When: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3
Where: Brenau Downtown Center, 301 Main St., Gainesville
Cost: $15 at door or www.johnjarrardfoundation.com.
Randall Bramblett, a singer-songwriter who has many times been associated with Southern rock, is mainly influenced by the sounds of soul, blues and gospel.
Bramblett is set to perform at Brenau Downtown Center to wrap up the Summer Songwriter Series from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, along with Greg Barnhill. Area resident Mary Jennings will open the show.
Bramblett has recorded, written and performed for many years since the 1970s when he started out performing in a jazz band with a southern edge called Sea Level. Throughout his music career, he has worked with artists such as Steve Winwood, who he worked closely with for 16 years, Gregg Allman, Chuck Leavell, Levon Helm and Widespread Panic.
The Times asks Bramblett about his experience over the past few decades in music.
Question: You have said you combine the soulful feel of Ray Charles and the folk scene of artists such as Bob Dylan in your music. Why do you think these two musical styles work well together?
Answer: Well, it’s not really the style of Bob Dylan. It’s just his blighting kind of opened up avenues for my lyrics writing, too. I don’t do anything that sounds like Bob Dylan. But I grew up playing soul music and listening to gospel, blues and folk music. It’s a mixture of all those things. It’s hard to categorize. That’s one reason that ... it’s been hard to market us.
It is a blues-rock kind of mix. It’s just a real hybrid mix of everything, depending on what the song calls for.
Q: Your music has been inspired by gospel also, as you have mentioned. Why is that and how has church music inspired your style?
A: Just because of the spirit of it. It’s the same way it did for people like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. You know, they grew up listening to that stuff. So their R&B was gospel-tinged, because that’s where it all came from, I guess, was gospel and blues.
Just the feel of gospel and the sound of it is what I always loved. I can’t even describe what the feel of it is, but it’s a beautiful, spiritual feeling. And that can be used in lots of different formats, lots of different songs, if it calls for it. I think our new record “Shine” sounds a little gospely. It’s just that I’ve pulled from whatever the song really needs.
Q: One of your songs, recorded by Bonnie Raitt, was included on an album that won a Grammy. How does it feel to be a part of that win?
A: Oh, it feels great. It’s just a validation that your songs are worthwhile and that someone really good is going to do them. It’s a validation thing. Sometimes you wonder if your songs are any good. Well, if Bonnie likes them, they must be OK.
Q: What kind of experience do you hope to create when you perform?
A: Well, relaxed and intimate. I want to make a connection with the audience through the songs. So I want it to be fun and relaxed and loose. I want it to move people, too. I want the lyrics to come across.
Q: Overall, what do you think is the best part of being a singer-songwriter in this style of music?
A: The joy of it to me is actually writing songs I think are good and then actually getting them recorded in a way that brings the songs to life, and then being able to perform those songs and bring them across to people. It all goes together. They’re all different processes. Writing is one process, which is really an internal different kind of thing.
And then there’s recording, which I really love ... and that’s always fun.
They’re all valuable and they’re all fun. I wouldn’t want to do any of them all the time.
I think they’re all valuable and I love recording.
You have a demo, which you think is good and then you hear it come to life, or either it turns out to not be any good. But most of the time, they come to life, and that’s really exciting.
I love performing.