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From Dylan to Delaware: The musical pursuits of David Bromberg

By Christi Marsico • Staff Writer

David Bromberg, the well-known vocalist/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, was headed home for a quiet evening with his family this New Year’s.

“New Year’s is not a big deal for me, and I‘m resolved not to make any resolutions,” Bromberg said during an interview with The Smoky Mountain News.

Bromberg has left his mark on the music scene over four decades by working with artists such as Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Willie Nelson.

Known for his versatile approach as a session guitarist in the 1960s for folk and country legends, Bromberg retired from recording and extensive touring in 1980. However, his career has be reinvigorated as his comeback CD “Live New York City 1982,” (released in 2008) received high praises.

His 2007 CD, “Try Me One More Time,” was his first in 17 years and received a Grammy nomination for “Best Traditional Folk Recording.”

Raised in Tarrytown, N.Y., he started playing guitar when he was 13 and eventually became a musicology major at Columbia University.

Drawn to the Greenwich Village folk scene, Bromberg absorbed performers and was inspired by his teacher, the Rev. Gary Davis.

“He was the greatest guitar player that ever lived,” Bromberg said. “Since he was blind, I would lead him to concerts and churches.”

Bromberg began to incorporate the intensity of sermons into his guitar playing, noting he’s not alone in his preaching style.

“I play guitar solos and try to preach with rests and pauses, starting and finishing on unusual beats to create tension,” Bromberg said.

“My audiences know me,” Bromberg added.

It wasn’t long until Bromberg became a “hired gun” guitarist for recording sessions, playing on hundreds of records by artists including Dylan, The Eagles, Ringo Starr and Carly Simon.

Bromberg acknowledged it was a pleasure to play with such an array of talent, noting “Bob Dylan is really a genius.”

Among his first albums, Bromberg wrote “Holdup” with former Beatle George Harrison. Other co-written tracks included songs with members of the Grateful Dead.

Bromberg is currently an artist-in-residence in Wilmington, Del., where he established a retail store and repair shop, David Bromberg Fine Violin specializing in high-quality instruments.

Bromberg is looking forward to performing his first Asheville show at The Orange Peel on Jan. 15, and he will be backed up by his wife, Nancy Josephson, who is the leader of the female trio Angel Band.

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