Published On: Sat, Nov 3rd, 2018

David Bromberg Quintet takes the stage at New Hope Winery on Nov. 11

Legendary singer/songwriter David Bromberg plays the New Hope Winery this month in a one-night-only performance on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Bromberg’s musical journey spans five and a half decades, and includes 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.

Add in a period of self-imposed exile from his passion (1980-2002), during which he became a renowned violin expert, and Wilmington, Delaware’s cultural ambassador; top that off with a triumphant return to music-making, and you have an amazing tale leading back to one place: the blues.

Now, with “The Blues, the Whole Blues, and Nothing But the Blues,” Bromberg and multi-Grammy-winning producer/accompanist Larry Campbell (Dylan, Levon Helm, Paul Simon) focus on the music David discovered in high school in the 1950s, when he was introduced to a friend’s collection of blues 78s.

“I loved those 78s so much,” says David, “I taped them on a portable reel-to-reel, so I could listen at home and learn.”

That love is evident in “The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues.”

“There’s a lot of different types of blues on there,” Bromberg notes. “We decided to start it off with a dyed-in-the-wool blues [Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues”], but there’s also country blues [“Kentucky Blues”], and gospel-influenced blues [“Yield Not”].”

Bromberg, a onetime sideman himself, is quick to give props to his long-running road-and-studio cohorts: Butch Amiot (bass), Josh Kanusky (drums), Mark Cosgrove (guitar), Nate Grower (fiddle), and Peter Ecklund (cornet). Of producer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, fellow Reverend Gary Davis acolyte, and old friend Larry Campbell, he says, “To use a baseball analogy, Larry is like a star at any position in the infield, because he can play them all.”

Bromberg’s guitar work remains a marvel — amped electric lead and delicately powerful acoustic fingerpicking propel these songs 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,” rendered here intimately solo.

“When I first started,” Bromberg says, “singing was something I did between guitar solos. But during the period I did so little performing, I took some voice lessons, and now, I know more what I’m doing. I love singing now. Love it.”

Although he remains the proprietor of the beloved David Bromberg Fine Violins in Wilmington, Bromberg makes time to tour with his quintet, and brings his characteristic devotional intensity to the music. 

David Bromberg appears at the New Hope Winery, 6123 Lower York Road, at 6 p.m. on Nov. 11. Tickets are $50 and available online.

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