With his 1971 self-titled Columbia Records release, David Bromberg emerged as the wunderkind of American roots music. The disc’s compelling blend of traditional and original material, virtuosic musicianship and iconic cover art trumpeted the arrival of a new artist possessed of audacious and uncompromising vision. Over the course of four albums for Columbia and five for Fantasy Records, and through associations with artists like Bob Dylan, Jerry Jeff Walker, John Hartford, George Harrison, the Grateful Dead, Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt, Bromberg’s reputation, repertoire and following grew exponentially. However, the incessant demands of touring finally brought the band’s recordings and shows to an end in the early 1980’s.
The twenty-two year drought ended in 2006 with the release of the Grammy-nominated solo effort Try Me One More Time. Gradually tour dates were added and bandmembers assembled as David, in 2011, followed up Try Me with Use Me, a typically unorthodox Brombergian effort, partnering him with some of the most celebrated names in music – Linda Ronstadt, Vince Gill, Los Lobos, Dr John, Keb’ Mo, John Hiatt, Levon Helm and others – whom David asked to either write or choose songs and then produce him doing them.
Two more albums emerged from 2013 to 2017, Only Slightly Mad and The Blues the Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues, both produced by three-time Grammy winner Larry Campbell. Recorded at Levon Helm’s Barn, Only Slightly Mad brought the band back to David’s eclectic ‘kitchen sink’ musical philosophy, while with The Whole Blues, David upheld Texas fiddler Johnny Gimbel’s claim that: “There are only two songs – the Star-Spangled Banner and the Blues.” The band skipped over the ‘Banner’ and headed straight for the blues, winning the 2017 Downbeat Critic’s Poll for Best Blues Album.