Randall Bramblett is a well-known musician who also has rubbed elbows with many big names in rock music, so it was special when he brought his solo act to a new venue in Suwanee recently.
"It's nice to have a place where (musicians) can get their songs out," Bramblett said this week at the beginning of his acoustic set at the Moondance Lounge, which opened in mid-October on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.
Bramblett was the biggest name to perform at Moondance, which mostly has featured dance bands and DJs/singers so far to complement its "dinner and dancing" motif. The connection is that Mark Alestra, one of the owners, knows Bramblett's manager. Voila.
The recent acoustic set lasted about two hours, with a break, and featured material from Bramblett's long solo career. His music has an unmistakable Southern touch -- bluesy and heavy on Southern imagery, fitting for a Jesup, Ga., native who lives now in Athens.
He's also well known for performing with such musicians as Gregg Allman and the Atlanta Rhythm Section in the early days, and even this year he played with the revamped Allman Brothers Band in New York.
"Gregg is taking better care of himself these days," Bramblett said with a smile during the break in his set at Moondance. "I've always liked Gregg."
Bramblett's easy smile and sense of humor came through as he engaged his Moondance audience. After playing "Driving To Montgomery," he noted that in Alabama, he recently saw a roadside sign that said, "We Dare Defend Our Rights."
"That scares me. ... You set your watch back an hour and your mind back 100 years," Bramblett said of Alabama. "We need another state to make fun of."
He also played material from his newest CD, "The Meantime." Of his lengthy career, he said that he tries "to push the bounds as much as I can ... I try to write something new and different every time."
His continuing success and influence is underscored by the fact that big name blues-rocker Bonnie Raitt will include one of Bramblett's compositions, "I Used To Rule The World," on her new CD to be released in March.
And some of the material from the Suwanee gig might see the light of day soon. Mark Alestra recorded the material on equipment controlled by his Mac laptop and iPad.
It all was a big moment for Moondance. Co-owner Christine Alestra has a background in hospitality marketing. She partnered with Executive Chef Todd Paige, who responded to her ad on Craigslist. The chef's previous experience includes a restaurant in Johns Creek.
"We want to make this one of the premier listening rooms in the South," Bramblett told the audience.