David Bromberg Quintet perform at Capitol Theatre March 15

David Bromberg Quintet perform at Capitol Theatre March 15

Photo courtesy of CAPITOL THEATRE
Capitol Theatre welcomes the David Bromberg Quintet March 15.

CLEARWATER – The David Bromberg Quintet will perform Wednesday, March 15, 8 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.

Bromberg is a Grammy-nominee, decorated multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, gifted song interpreter and lauded band mate to the stars.

Tickets start at $35. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.a­tthec­ap.co­m.

After three years, Bromberg released a wonderfully curated album, filled with selections of deep cuts from the blues genre and original composition. “The Whole Blues and Nothing But The Blues,” released in 2016, was produced by Levon Helm and Bob Dylan’s longtime collaborator Larry Campbell. Bromberg found his inspiration for the album when he heard Willie Nelson repeat a quote from Texas fiddler Johnny Gimble: “There’s only two kinds of music – the Star Spangled Banner and the Blues.”

Through Bromberg’s unparalleled playing and gift for interpretation and Campbell’s tasteful horn arrangements, the record reaches electrifying heights as well as intimate acoustic moments, breathing fresh life into the songs of Robert Johnson, Bobby Charles, George “Little Hat” Jones, Ray Charles and Sonny Boy Williamson, among others. Ray Charles’ “A Fool For You” is one of many album stand-outs, featuring just Bromberg on a spellbinding solo acoustic guitar and vocal performance. This is Bromberg’s 18th album, the latest in a solo career that began in 1971 on his self-titled debut.

Bromberg was born in Philadelphia in 1945 and raised in Tarrytown, New York.

“As a kid I listened to rock ’n’ roll and whatever else was on the radio,” Bromberg said in a biography on his website. “I discovered Pete Seeger and The Weavers and, through them, Reverend Gary Davis. I then discovered Big Bill Broonzy, who led me to Muddy Waters and the Chicago blues. This was more or less the same time I discovered Flatt and Scruggs, which led to Bill Monroe and Doc Watson.”

Bromberg began studying guitar at age 13 and eventually enrolled in Columbia University as a musicology major. The Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-’60s drew him to the downtown clubs and coffeehouses, where he could watch and learn from the best performers, including primary sources such as his inspiration and teacher, the Reverend Gary Davis.

Bromberg’s sensitive and versatile approach to guitar-playing earned him jobs playing the Village “basket houses” for tips, the occasional paying gig, and employment as a backing musician for Tom Paxton, Jerry Jeff Walker and Rosalie Sorrels, among others. He became a first-call, “hired gun” guitarist for recording sessions, ultimately playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (“New Morning,” “Self Portrait,” “Dylan”), Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson and Carly Simon.

An unexpected and wildly successful solo spot for 600,000 concert goers at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in Great Britain led to a solo deal with Columbia Records, for whom Bromberg recorded four albums. His eponymous 1971 debut included “The Holdup,” a songwriting collaboration with former Beatle George Harrison, who also played slide guitar on the track. Bromberg also met the Grateful Dead and wound up with four of their members playing on his next two albums.

Bromberg’s material, based in the folk and blues idioms, continually expanded with each new album to encompass bluegrass, ragtime, country and ethnic music, and his touring band grew apace. By the mid-’70s, the David Bromberg Big Band included horn players, a violinist, and several multi-instrumentalists, including Bromberg himself.

After a hiatus in recording and touring, Bromberg released the Grammy-nominated ‘Try Me One More Time,” his 2007 solo return to the studio.

Bromberg picked up where he left off, continuing his musical revitalization and playing shows on his own, with the David Bromberg Quartet, and reunions of the David Bromberg Big Band. In 2009, spurred by a suggestion from John Hiatt that he come to Hiatt’s Nashville studio to “mess around,” Bromberg came up with the idea for ‘Use Me’ – an album featuring Bromberg with Hiatt and other friends like Levon Helm, Los Lobos, Tim O’Brien, Vince Gill, Widespread Panic, Dr. John, Keb’ Mo’ and Linda Ronstadt.

Each guest artist either wrote or selected a song and then produced Bromberg interpretation of their suggested tune, thereby fulfilling Bromberg’s request to “Use Me.”

Today, he continues to bring his characteristic devotional intensity to his music, invigorating his surprise third act with the same passion he felt as a teen, spinning those blues 78s, just before the road called.

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