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David Bromberg at Hugh’s Room Live

The David Bromberg Quintet is one terrific live outfit. They know a huge number of songs and tunes – a remarkably eclectic mix, and they don’t use a set list. Mr. Bromberg plays what he feels like playing. He shifts from electric to acoustic guitar, and he has a bass player, fiddler, drummer as well as another guitarist who also plays mandolin. There’s a lot of joy happening onstage and the audience can feel it, as the group plays each song as if reinventing it.

By the way I didn’t take any pictures or shoot any video of tonight’s show. Instead I focused on enjoying the performance. I will add in some samples of The David Bromberg Quintet from YouTube. For those who were hoping to see some visual document of tonight’s show, I hope you can adjust. I’m just tired of all the phones at shows taking pictures and recording and decided I didn’t need to do that.

Most performers find a style or a groove and stick with it but Mr. Bromberg has defined his career by doing just the opposite. Tonight he said something like, what are we, a blues band a country band? It’s confusing as shit and it’s going to get worse. In a music business which thrives on marketing formulas, this does not make for mega-success. Back in the days of records, I think stores simply did not know what section to put the David Bromberg records. Back then, marketers had not yet thought up “Americana”, which is perhaps one category his work settles comfortably within.

Here’s a YouTube video featuring the group from a show in the spring of this year…

Mr. Bromberg gave up music for over 20 years. In an interview I heard, he said he was burnt out and needed to find another way to live his live. He learned to make violins, became an acknowledged expert on American-made violins, and opened his own violin shop, David Bromberg Fine Violins in Wilmington Delaware. Eventually, a few years ago, he returned to music, and in my opinion, at 72, he’s on top of his game.

Here’s the group playing, I’ll Take You Back at a show in Atlanta, also from the YouTube…

After playing one 90 minute set tonight, the band came back for an encore. Mr. Bromberg noted he forgot to play some Canadian content, and launched into Ian Tyson’s masterpiece, Summer Wages. Here’s a performance of that tune from 2014…


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