Pullin’ ‘Tubes: David Bromberg Is An Unsung Treasure

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David Bromberg is likely a name that is going to be unfamiliar to many of our readers, but odds are you’re already familiar with one of his songs and may not even know it. Widespread Panic began covering Bromberg’s tune Sharon dating all they way back to 1986, and the song has been part of the band’s rotation since 2000. But my guess is that you probably recognized it from the Beastie Boys, who sampled the opening guitar licks on the Paul’s Boutique track Johnny Ryall. The singer-songwriter, who has been putting out albums since the early 1970’s, is among the small crop of artists that deserve to be called “musician’s musicians,” as he has worked with the likes of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Willie Nelson, John Prine and Bonnie Raitt over the years, and even had five members of the Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux) back him on his sophomore album Demon in Disguise.

Born in 1945, Bromberg attended Columbia University, where he studied musicology and began performing on the Greenwich Village folk circuit which eventually led him to study guitar under one of his musical heroes – Reverend Gary Davis. Bromberg, who can expertly play fiddle, guitar, dobro and pedal steel, can arguably be considered the quintessential roots-rock musician thanks to the inventive way he mixed early rock and roll, with blues, country, folk and bluegrass to create his distinctive sound. The life and career of Bromberg, who stopped performing publicly in the 1980s to make violins, is the subject of the new documentary Unsung Treasure. Directed by Beth Toni Kruvant, the doc tracks Bromberg’s comeback to the stage and the recording of his 2011 collaborative album Use Me, which features guest appearances from Levon Helm, Dr. John, Los Lobos and Widespread Panic. Let’s check out the trailer…

David Bromberg will kick off a short five-date tour with a two-night stand featuring his Big Band at the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York on October 19 and 20.

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One thought on “Pullin’ ‘Tubes: David Bromberg Is An Unsung Treasure

  1. very cool Reply

    Really happy to see a nice write up on DB, his accomplishments, abilities, and influences. Good information for everyone to be introduced to if they haven’t, and opens up new music that people may have been over looking. Thanks for the great piece!!

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