David Bromberg, Quintet Heading to Chandler

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Arts / Sep. 28, 2017 9:14am EDT

David Bromberg will bring his multi-talented quintet to Chandler Music Hall in Randolph for an evening of blues, bluegrass, ragtime, and country on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. (Provided)David Bromberg will bring his multi-talented quintet to Chandler Music Hall in Randolph for an evening of blues, bluegrass, ragtime, and country on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. (Provided)
An American roots music icon, David Bromberg got his start in the legendary Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1960s. He played in Bob Dylan’s band and counts Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, The Eagles, Dr. John, and the late Jerry Garcia and George Harrison, among his many collaborators and admirers.

On Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m., Bromberg will bring his multi-talented quintet to the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph for an evening of blues, bluegrass, ragtime, and country.

Opening for the Bromberg outfit will be Brian Mackey, a New York City-based singer-songwriter who reflects on his life’s experiences as a native of rural Georgia and northern Florida, captured in songs drawing on indie rock and Americana influences.

Bromberg has spent a lifetime exploring and absorbing the highways and byways of American blues and folk music. Born in Philadelphia in 1945 and raised in Tarrytown, N.Y., he began playing guitar at age 13.

“As a kid,” he recalled, “I listened to rock ‘n roll and discovered Pete Seeger and The Weavers and, through them, Reverend Gary Davis. Then I discovered Big Bill Broonzy, which led me to Muddy Waters and the Chicago blues. At more or less the same time, I discovered Flatt and Scruggs, which led to Bill Monroe and Doc Watson.”

The rest is American musical history. As Jerry Jeff Walker—another stellar songcrafter who once featured Bromberg in his band— said, “David is the reason man created stringed instruments. David touched them with lover’s fingers and they moaned that true love right back at him. Wood and wire and flesh spoke.”

An unexpected and wildly successful solo gig at the famed Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 led to a recording contract with Columbia Records. Bromberg’s material, based in the folk and blues idioms, continually expanded with each new album to embrace a plethora of folk, blues, and Celtic music forms.

But despite exhilarating, sold-out concerts and plenty of acclaimed recordings, he found himself exhausted and weary from the logistics of the music business. He dissolved his then-big-band in 1980 and moved from northern California to Chicago with his musician-wife, Nancy Josephson, to attend a violin-making school.

For the next two decades, Bromberg made world-class violins—a second career that reached its zenith in 2002, when he and Nancy were lured to Wilmington, Del., where they established David Bromberg Fine Violins, a retail store and repair shop. The duo hosted or participated in many of the city’s weekly folk jam sessions, helping rekindle his desire to record and perform live music again.

With the release of the Grammy nominated “Try Me One More Time,” his solo return to the recording studio, Bromberg’s musical rejuvenation was complete. The master of multiple stringed instruments, he then hatched an idea to bring a host of his fellow musical luminaries together to record 2009’s “Use Me,” which featured him and friends such as John Hiatt, Levon Helm, Vince Gill, Los Lobos, Widespread Panic, and Linda Ronstadt. His latest recording is “The Blues, the Whole Blues, and Nothing But The Blues.”

For tickets, call the Chandler Box Office at 728-6464, visit chandlerarts.org, or stop by Chandler any weekday noon-4 p.m.

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