Randall Bramblett Keeps the Fire Burning

Georgia music veteran Randall Bramblett jumps back into action on Nov. 13, when New West Records will release his latest solo album, Pine Needle Fire.

By the time the Jesup-born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist launched his own recording career in the mid ‘70s with a pair of albums on Polydor, he was already a highly respected sideman, having tracked sessions with the likes of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, B.J. Thomas, Goose Creek Symphony and Martin Mull and toured with Gregg Allman. His solo work was put on hold in 1977 when he joined the Southern fusion group Sea Level, while his session gigs kept his spare time occupied during that band’s run and well beyond (to this day, in fact). However, by 1998 Bramblett felt the urge to flex his skills as a singer-songwriter again, releasing See Through Me, and after signing with New West in 2001 he’s released a total of seven additional albums since.

Musically, the album is steeped in swampy soul, R&B and dusty Americana, with Bramblett’s weathered voice conveying the lyrical themes of mortality and desperation. He admits to “recognizing a thread” in the lyrics of Pine Needle Fire as being, to a large degree, “about time passing, or at least grappling with the realization that you don’t have an infinite amount of time left like you do when you’re young.” As for the album’s title track, the 72-year-old says, “it’s a memory of childhood. The big industry in Jesup is Rayonier, the paper mill, and the cash crop is pine trees, basically. We grew up in the woods and the swamps, and when you’re young all you wanted to do was climb the fire towers and then fall in love. That all fit together into this image of smoke and pine needles and love burning and hurting and being a thing of beauty and wonder, all at the same time.”

Randall and his band will play a pre-release concert on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at From The Earth Brewing Company in Roswell.

Photo by Ian McFarlane.