David Bromberg: Only Slightly Mad

OnlySlightlyMadNowadays known for being a world-renowned luthier and violin maker, multi-talented instrumentalist David Bromberg reappeared back in 2007 with Try Me One More Time, an all-acoustic solo set of blues and folk songs. While the album earned a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy nomination, it apparently helped spark Bromberg’s return from a nearly two-decade long self-imposed hiatus from playing and recording that found him running an instrument repair shop in Wilmington, Del.

While it would take until 2011 for Bromberg to record a studio album follow-up (Use Me), the Tarrytown, N.Y. native had a good enough time with producer Larry Campbell that he enlisted him to once again helm another batch of songs that resulted in this 2013 project. Bromberg has once again cast his net fairly wide and pulled in a delightful mix of mostly covers and a trio of originals that cover a fairly broad stylistic map of American roots music. Among the album’s many highlights are the late night saloon song “I’ll Take You Back,” penned by Rick Estrin of Little Charlie and the Nightcats, that’s punched up by saucy horn charts and some biting blues riffs.

Elsewhere, Bromberg does a fine job tucking into Floyd Cramer’s country music gem “Last Date,” the Stanley Brothers’ equally twangy “The Fields Have Turned Brown” (featuring a nice turn on banjo by John McEuen and some sumptuous harmonies) and a trio of traditional old-timey tunes that finds Bromberg switching off between fiddle, mandolin and acoustic guitar (“Cattle in the Cane/Forked Deer/Monroe’s Hornpipe”).

Most impressive is how he takes a page out of Richard Thompson’s book by recording what is seemingly an Olde English drinking song that’s a mostly self-penned medley of songs with the last part being a traditional song with a modern arrangement: “The Strongest Man Alive/Maydelle’s Reel/Jenny’s Chickens.” Starting as a sonorous vocal arrangement featuring Bromberg, it is framed by the harmonies of John Roberts and Tony Barrand that eases into some fleet-fingered bluegrass picking and an Irish folk instrumental that he self-describes as sounding like “Braveheart and his army coming down a hill into battle.” It all winds up being an extremely enjoyable listening excursion that’s far from being a maddening experience.

The David Bromberg Quintet will be appearing on May 6 The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave. For more information, call 800-745-000 or visit www.thespaceatwestbury.com.

Dave Gil de Rubio
In addition to being editor of Massapequa Observer and Hicksville News, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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OnlySlightlyMadNowadays known for being a world-renowned luthier and violin maker, multi-talented instrumentalist David Bromberg reappeared back in 2007 with Try Me One More Time, an all-acoustic solo set of blues and folk songs. While the album earned a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy nomination, it apparently helped spark Bromberg’s return from a nearly two-decade long self-imposed hiatus from playing and recording that found him running an instrument repair shop in Wilmington, Del.

While it would take until 2011 for Bromberg to record a studio album follow-up (Use Me), the Tarrytown, N.Y. native had a good enough time with producer Larry Campbell that he enlisted him to once again helm another batch of songs that resulted in this 2013 project. Bromberg has once again cast his net fairly wide and pulled in a delightful mix of mostly covers and a trio of originals that cover a fairly broad stylistic map of American roots music. Among the album’s many highlights are the late night saloon song “I’ll Take You Back,” penned by Rick Estrin of Little Charlie and the Nightcats, that’s punched up by saucy horn charts and some biting blues riffs.

Elsewhere, Bromberg does a fine job tucking into Floyd Cramer’s country music gem “Last Date,” the Stanley Brothers’ equally twangy “The Fields Have Turned Brown” (featuring a nice turn on banjo by John McEuen and some sumptuous harmonies) and a trio of traditional old-timey tunes that finds Bromberg switching off between fiddle, mandolin and acoustic guitar (“Cattle in the Cane/Forked Deer/Monroe’s Hornpipe”).

Most impressive is how he takes a page out of Richard Thompson’s book by recording what is seemingly an Olde English drinking song that’s a mostly self-penned medley of songs with the last part being a traditional song with a modern arrangement: “The Strongest Man Alive/Maydelle’s Reel/Jenny’s Chickens.” Starting as a sonorous vocal arrangement featuring Bromberg, it is framed by the harmonies of John Roberts and Tony Barrand that eases into some fleet-fingered bluegrass picking and an Irish folk instrumental that he self-describes as sounding like “Braveheart and his army coming down a hill into battle.” It all winds up being an extremely enjoyable listening excursion that’s far from being a maddening experience.

The David Bromberg Quintet will be appearing on May 6 The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave. For more information, call 800-745-000 or visit www.thespaceatwestbury.com.

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