Live Last Night: David Bromberg


Multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg worked two shifts at the Birchmere on Friday night, nimbly accompanying the Angel Band during the opening set, then delighting the capacity crowd with his quartet's performances of modulating fiddle tunes, overhauled pop songs and the drollest of blues. During one heartsick lament that evoked the influence of B..B King's expressive guitar work, Bromberg deadpanned: "You know the first time she quit me, this month, the girl wouldn't even tell me why."

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

Though the folk music vet has devoted the past 20 years to the study and care of violins, he still has chops to spare on guitar and fiddle. The racing traditional tunes enlivened by fiddler-mandolinist Jeff Wiser and guitarist Mitch Corbin were framed by variously shaded guitar blues that Bromberg played finger-style or with a bottleneck. Included were evocative tributes to both Tommy Johnson ("Big Road Blues") and Robert Johnson ("Come On In My Kitchen").

Much of Bromberg's appeal, however, is rooted in his wry sense of humor and the obvious pleasure he takes in recasting familiar tunes with the help of some exceptionally gifted musicians. Two prime examples: "What A Wonderful World" and "Drown In My Own Tears," complete with Raelettes-like harmonies sung by the Angel Band's Nancy Josephson, Kathleen Weber and Aly Paige. Among the original songs was "Top Of The Slide," a working man's blues that sounds more relevant today than when Bromberg wrote it decades ago.

The Angel Band opened the show on a bright note, with spirited, full-throated harmonies and an engaging folk-pop repertoire.

-- MIKE JOYCE

By J. Freedom du Lac |  March 1, 2009; 12:52 PM ET Live Last Night
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