I do not play an instrument, but I can sing my ass off. Problem is I suffer from an extreme case of stage fright. So, even though I love music and it surrounds me just about every waking moment, and sometimes even in my sleeping moments, I could not see how I could ever make a living with music. I cannot write music, and it would seem hopeless that I could ever do anything that had anything to do with music. Then I started writing about music. The rest is history.
Anyway, I was talking to my wife, and was trying to explain to her the reasons I adore listening to such a wide variety of music. The first person that popped into my brain and I have written of this before, was my Papaw, Harold “Pete” Ashby. He has been gone since 1979 or 80 but his legacy lives on with the music he cerebrally planted deep inside my soul.
Dixieland Jazz was his favorite form of music and we listened to it hours at a time, so it was a natural progression for me to go from there to traditional jazz, to blues, to rock, and finally to roots-alt-progressive-Americana, or whatever you would like to call it. I literally listen to everything under the sun that would not be considered mainstream.
The second individual that popped into my mind was David Bromberg.
Mr. Bromberg introduced me to many forms of music that most young adults would never have considered listening too back in the early 70’s. When I first heard his “New Lee Highway Blues” from his “Wanted Dead or Alive” record, I was completely drawn into his very unique world of versatility. On the same record the incredible, “Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair” resided. Some would say these two separate musical art forms are from other ends of the universe and should never live together, especially on the same record. I say they are at the very least, first cousins. Point is, that just like my Papaw before him, David Bromberg introduced me to an even wider array of musical art forms.
Today, David Bromberg lives in Delaware with his wife, where they run a violin repair shop. He also still plays, tours, and records. Come July 12, he releases another incredible record. In fact, it rather reminds me of “Wanted Dead or Alive” to a large degree because of its flexibility.
A large reason for this wide assortment of songs is that Mr. Bromberg has many friends. Friends like Levon Helm, Linda Ronstadt, Dr. John, Widespread Panic, Los Lobos, Keb’ Mo, Tim O’Brien, John Hiatt, Vince Gill, and finally, as far as this record is concerned, Phil and Joe Nicolo.
Apparently, he asked each one of these incredibly talented friends of his to write or choose a song for him to record. Most of them either performed, or at the very least, helped to produce each tune on the record. Hence, the title of this amazing new treasure, “Use Me”.
Each of the talent listed above contributed and added their distinct flavor to the record, but it is all David Bromberg. He would never dishonor artists by simply trying to emulate them. A great artist will pay homage to another by making the tune his own. Mr. Bromberg does this ever so effortlessly and successfully; I could not even tell you which song is my favorite. They all are.
From the very first track “Tongue”, with Levon Helm, to the last track, “Use Me” I was captivated. The record is one of those rare gems that you never want to end. It does, but I simply set the player on replay and listen to it again. I have been doing that for over a month now, and it has not grown old on me yet. It is that great!
David Bromberg’s “Use Me” releases July 12 on Appleseed Records. Just buy the record. You will thank me later.
If you would like to hear a cut from this amazing record, tune in on Saturday night from 10 pm until midnight (CDT).You can listen by clicking on KOOK 93.5, I’ll be playing a track from “Use Me” and will be featuring some other music from this legendary artist. I think you’ll enjoy it so give it a try…..RR