Interview: David Bromberg

Photo: Joe del Tufo

To chat with David Bromberg, decorated multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, and master of all things stringed, is to enjoy a rich slice of American music history; over a storied solo career spanning four decades, Bromberg has collaborated with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Garcia, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, and The Eagles, to name a few.

“I quite enjoyed it!” Bromberg says with a laugh when asked about working on several of Dylan’s albums. “Once, he asked me to produce some tunes; I decided to use a choir on some of the songs. The choir was composed of mostly African Americans, and none of them knew who Bob was, he wasn’t part of their point of reference. They came in because I had worked with them before on some gigs; they were on one side of the studio and Bob was in the vocal booth. He was recording a gospel tune called ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine,’ and he was trying to find his groove. It was taking some time, which happens in the studio, and the women in the choir decided to have a prayer for him—‘Dear Lord, please help this man find whatever it is he’s looking for, and with a quickness,’” he adds. “He found it pretty soon.”

Bromberg, who taught himself guitar at age 13 to overcome boredom during a bout with the measles, recently released his 18th album, The Blues, The Whole Blues, And Nothing But The Blues. “Most of my recordings have hit every genre I like, they’re all over the map. During the 50s and 60s, I became interested in folk music, and through that, I discovered the blues, I loved the irony in the lyrics,” he recalls. The album features jangly gospel, front porch favorites, and swamp-infused songs, all under the varied and diverse genre we know as the blues. “The term ‘the blues’ is really a marketing term, and the music comes in all different stripes, and it may not sound like the songs are all in the same genre,” he explains. “I collected all different kinds of blues and recorded them.”

The new album was produced by three-time Grammy winner and former Dylan sideman Larry Campbell, a legend in his own right. “He’s truly amazing; he had so many great ideas. As a producer, he hears every note being played as it’s being played, and recognizes what each thing is doing separately,” Bromberg recalls. “He hears everything that’s going on, right off the top.”

Bromberg is currently on tour supporting the album’s release, which will bring him to Nashville’s City Winery on Friday, March 10th; he promises to perform new material, as well as sections from his vast catalogue. “I’ve never in my life had a set list; we decide right before we hit the stage what the first tune is going to be and from then on, it’s whatever I feel like playing.” he says. “It makes things a little bit more interesting.”


Nashville show tickets and information:

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3/07 Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theatre

3/08 Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre

3/10 Nashville, TN  – City Winery

3/11 Asheville, NC – ISIS Music Hall

3/12 Atlanta, GA – City Winery

3/14 Ponte Vedra, FL – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

3/15 Clearwater, FL  – Capitol Theater

3/16 Boca Raton, FL – Funky Biscuit

3/17 Melbourne, FL – Maxwell C. King Center For Perf. Arts

4/06 Honolulu, HI – Blue Note

4/07 Maui, HI – Iao Theater

4/08 Big Island, HI – Honoka’a Peoples Theater

5/18 Huntington, NY – Paramount

5/19 Tarrytown, NY – Tarrytown Music Hall

5/20 Wilmington, DE – Bromberg’s Big Noise

5/21 Washington DC – The Hamilton

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