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Published: 2013/10/02
by Brian Stollery

David Bromberg Band, City Winery, New York City- 10/1

Last night, David Bromberg Band performed at the City Winery in Tribeca in support of his new album, Only Slightly Mad. The evening boasted a resplendent retinue of instrument configurations and musical styles.

Starting things off with the blues proper, Bromberg led his core, six-piece band through a lively take on the traditional “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” Afterwards, Bromberg offered a largely improvised “I’ll Take You Back” with his trademark rapping and rhyming in between each chorus, assuming a political feel. “The day I’ll take you back, you see,” sang Bromberg, “Is the day we get Congress to agree,” citing the recent government shutdown. Stepping away from the microphone, Bromberg continued, “Baby the day I take you back, is the day they find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq!” much to the delight of the New York audience.

The musical wheels turned a bit thereafter, as the band launched into a raucous, rousing instrumental bluegrass number. Introducing lead guitarist Mark Cosgrove, Bromberg admitted, “I got a lot of guts, because I’ve always had a guitarist in the band that’s better than me! So I’m gonna let Mark play you a little solo.” Cosgrove then performed a near perfect, turn-on-a-dime rendition of George Cobb and Jack Yellin’s classic bluegrass number “Alabama Jubilee.” The band returned for a fully acapella rendition of “The Strongest Man Alive,” Bromberg’s ‘old Irish drinking song’ and also the source of his new album’s title.

For the final stretch of the show, Bromberg’s female choir, which includes his wife Nancy, emerged from the audience and took the stage for a beautiful rendition of “Drivin’ Wheel,” which featured lush, seven-layer harmonies. Bromberg’s full, nine-member band stayed on stage for most of the remainder of the show, and by the end, Bromberg had traversed nearly the entire album, nearly two hours of time, several different arrangements, and a myriad of styles. However, Bromberg put it best himself: “There’s two types of music – The Star Spangled Banner, and the blues.”

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