Vanished Honky-Tonk Heavyweight Damon Bramblett Reappears Tuesday

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Jesse Dayton recently wrote to us that he's cutting two of Damon Bramblett's songs on his next album. Dayton compared Bramblett to Mike Stinson as one of the cream of Texas' current songwriter crop.

In the early 2000s, Austinite Bramblett was a hot item on the exploding Texas music scene. With a voice often compared to Johnny Cash and a stash of songs that were realistic and supremely poetic, Bramblett seemed like a can't-miss burgeoning star. And then he vanished. Lonesome, Onry and Mean interviewed Bramblett last week, and here's what he had to say about his return to the music scene.

"To be honest, I became a bit disenchanted with the music biz. It seemed like I was always begging for a $50 gig to pay rent, and that was not much fun," Bramblett says. "We'd played a weekly gig at Stubb's BBQ for five years, and I started feeling like the interest level was no longer there. The thing about playing once or more in Austin every week is it gets very easy for folks to take you for granted. So I decided I needed a break to think about what I was doing and wanted to do."

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"I never thought I would stop playing music, I just knew I wasn't going to beg jaded club owners any more," continues Bramblett. "In the meantime, I moved across town almost next door to one of Austin's oldest and best bars, Dry Creek Saloon. I never had any intention of playing there. Dry Creek never had live music.

"After a year or so, I became friends with the bartender and owner. They were always asking me about my music, and it seemed like everywhere I went other people would ask me when I was going to play again.

"One day I casually mentioned to Raymond from Dry Creek that I had been booked to play a wedding and I was going to rent a PA. I jokingly said, 'I should set it up over here and play.' He said, 'Do it,' and I did and we had an incredible turn out. Dry Creek had their biggest night ever. So I asked if I could play there more often and they pretty much said 'whenever you want.' This was a gig where I was in charge of when we played and how long, etc. So I started doing that and it was fun for me again.

Word started to spread a bit, and now I'm playing other clubs around town like Mean Eyed Cat and Continental Club. I figured out as long as I don't play every day people will come! At least for now. So that's what I plan to keep doing."

Bramblett has had success with other artists covering his material: Kelly Willis, "Nobody Wants to Go to The Moon Anymore" and "Heaven Bound"; Sara Hickman, "Nobody Wants To Go To The Moon Anymore"; Bruce Robison, "Just Married" and "Emotionally Gone"; and Charlie Robison, "Waiting For The Mail."

Bramblett has always drawn top musicians to play with him, and his band tomorrow will consist of stand-up bassist Kevin Smith and drummer Scott Matthews, also the rhythm section for Austin twang top dogs the Derailers.

5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, House of Blues (Bronze Peacock Room), 1204 Caroline, 713-652-5837 or www.hob.com/houston. Free.


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