by Deborah Medenbach, read the full review at: Recordonline.com
Revered folk and rock musician to play Bethel Woods
The David Bromberg Band lands at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Thursday, one year after recording a new album, “Only Slightly Mad,” at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock.
Bethel Woods audiences have enjoyed Bromberg’s performances at least twice before, but his deep roots in Ulster County’s Woodstock go back four decades with deep friendships and musical collaborations.
“My time with Levon and the Band goes way back,” Bromberg said. “In the 1970s I was on the same circuit the Band was on, so we’d run into each other at gigs, stay at the same hotels and bump into each other at the same truck stops. It was funny. And Rick (Danko) was my best friend in the Band.”
He dedicates the new album to the memory of Danko, Richard Manuel and Levon Helm.
Produced by Levon Helm Band leader Larry Campbell and engineered by Justin Guip, “Only Slightly Mad” ranges over genres in 12 tracks, rolling out the a capella original “Strongest Man Alive” alongside bluesy gospel tunes “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and “I’ll Rise Again,” worthy of its dedication to the Staples Singers.
“I don’t know if (Mavis Staples) ever heard it or read that I dedicated it to her. I’ve had the privilege to meet her a few times,” Bromberg said. “I’ve been a fan of hers since the early ’60s and bought every album of the Staples I could afford.”
This is Bromberg’s third album since his 2007 return to the stage. He stopped performing in the 1980s with more than a dozen solo albums to his credit and enjoyed a second career as a fine-violin luthier and dealer in Wilmington, Del. The journey back to performing was detailed in the documentary film “David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure.”
“When I started performing again after 22 years of not doing it, I was not overwhelmed with confidence. There were only two situations where I felt comfortable. One was with my band and the other was playing with Jay (Ungar) and Molly (Mason),” Bromberg said. It was Ungar who introduced Bromberg to current manager Mark McKenna, who had a long history as a sound engineer in Woodstock.
Bromberg’s Grammy-nominated comeback album “Try Me One More Time” was followed in 2011 by “Use Me,” which featured Helm on two tracks.
For the new album and touring band, Bromberg scooped up his wife, Nancy Josephson’s, drummer Josh Kanusky from her band, Honeychild.
“There was this ad on Craigslist saying ‘Looking for Levon?’ Nancy called him and he was with her band for a few years,” Bromberg said. “Now he’s with mine.”
The David Bromberg Band includes Mark Cosgrove on guitar, Robert Butch Amoit on bass and young Delaware fiddler Nate Grower.