“The reason man created stringed instruments. David touched them with a lover’s fingers and they moaned that true love right back at him. Wood and wire and flesh spoke.” – Jerry Jeff Walker on David Bromberg
With his 1971 self-titled Columbia Records release, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter David Bromberg emerged as the wunderkind of American roots music. The disc’s compelling blend of traditional and original material, virtuosic musicianship and iconic cover art trumpeted the arrival of a new artist possessed of audacious and uncompromising vision. Over the course of four albums for Columbia and five for Fantasy Records, and through associations with artists like Bob Dylan, Jerry Jeff Walker, John Hartford, George Harrison, the Grateful Dead, Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt, Bromberg’s reputation, repertoire and following grew exponentially. However, the incessant demands of touring finally brought his recordings and shows to an end in the early 1980s.
The twenty-two year drought ended in 2006 with the release of the Grammy-nominated solo effort Try Me One More Time. Gradually tour dates were added and band members assembled as David, in 2011, followed up Try Me with Use Me, a typically unorthodox Brombergian effort, partnering him with some of the most celebrated names in music—Linda Ronstadt, Vince Gill, Los Lobos, Dr. John, Keb’ Mo, John Hiatt, Levon Helm and others—whom David asked to either write or choose songs and then produce him performing them.
Two more albums emerged from 2013 to 2017, Only Slightly Mad and The Blues the Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues, both produced by three-time Grammy winner Larry Campbell. Recorded at Levon Helm’s Barn, Only Slightly Mad brought the band back to David’s eclectic ‘kitchen sink’ musical philosophy, while with The Whole Blues, David proved Texas fiddler Johnny Gimbel’s theory that: “There are only two songs—‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and the blues.” The band skipped over the ‘Banner’ and headed straight for the blues, winning the 2017 Downbeat Critic’s Poll for Best Blues Album.
Eventually David’s band settled into its current lineup of Mark Cosgrove (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Nate Grower (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Josh Kanusky (drums, vocals) and newest member, Suavek Zaniesienko (bass, vocals). This nucleus has performed hundreds of shows together, traversing thousands of miles across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia. With the band having attained a high level of musical telepathy, they entered the studio in mid-2019 for a slightly different approach to record-making.
The new album, Big Road, will give Bromberg fans the most intimate portrait to date of David and his band, musically and visually. Featuring twelve new tracks, five hi-def performance videos and a mini-documentary detailing the album’s creation, it will be released through Red House Records in three formats: traditional CD, a gatefold vinyl album and a CD/DVD combo pack. In an age where recorded music has been devalued and relegated to a digital stream for smart phones, Big Road returns the listener to the golden age of record-making, when enjoying an album was a tactile, visual and auditory experience.