David Bromberg Quintet
Emelin Theatre • 04.20.18• 8 PM
For Americana godfather David Bromberg, it all began with the blues.
His incredible journey spans five-and-a-half decades, and includes – but is not limited to – adventures with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia, and music and life lessons from seminal blues guitarist Reverend Gary Davis, who claimed the young Bromberg as a son. A musician’s musician, Bromberg’s mastery of several stringed instruments (guitar, fiddle, Dobro, mandolin), and multiple styles is legendary, leading Dr. John to declare him an American icon. In producing John Hartford’s hugely influential Aereo-Plain LP, Bromberg even co-invented a genre: Newgrass.
Bromberg’s guitar work remains a marvel; amped electric lead – both slide and fretted – and delicately powerful acoustic fingerpicking propel recent releases with the same force that made him the go-to guy for acts ranging from the Eagles to Link Wray to Phoebe Snow. This is a man who can go full-on Chicago gutbucket with “You Don’t Have to Go” (a Bromberg original), then slay with the jazz inflections of Ray Charles’ “A Fool for You.” “David’s always able to plug into the emotion of a song,” multi-Grammy-winning producer/accompanist Larry Campbell says. “He’s incredibly inventive as a player.”
Longtime fans will notice one difference: Bromberg’s voice; he’s really singing. “When I first started,” Bromberg says, “singing was something I did between guitar solos. But I took some voice lessons, and now, I know more what I’m doing. I love singing now. Love it.” His vocals cover a broad range: impassioned, vibrato-laden testifying; pew-jumping soul shouts; soft, confident, crooning; and, of course, his peerless raconteur chops.