Doyle Bramhall's three-decades-plus of blues credentials are unimpeachable, and the all-original compositions on the Alpine, Texas, drummer's third solo album are certainly steeped in that tradition. There's more going on here, though. While Bramhall's acclaimed Fitchburg Street (2003) trafficked in no-frills blues and R&B, Is It News retains the grit but with an added touch courtesy of Louisiana swamp rocker and co-producer C.C. Adcock. Packing muscle from a host of six-stringers, including Bob Dylan axeman Denny Freeman and local youngblood Mike Keller, Bramhall and Adcock conjure up a thick, dark, menacing roux of layered guitars surrounding the marquee talent's blue-eyed, soulful voice. Freeman rips on "Big" and the slow grind of "Ooh Wee Baby," while Keller lays waste to decades-old Bramhall/SRV instrumental "Chateau Strut." Adcock and Jimmie Vaughan add to the brew, too. Still, it's Bramhall at the center, keeping the big beat and making it news.
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