David Bromberg Plays Harrisburg Solo on November 17, 2013

David BrombergThe musician’s musician, fan favorite, and Grammy nominee David Bromberg, who conquered the American music scene, left it, and then returned to it, comes to Harrisburg on Sunday, November 17, 2013, for a Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert at the Appalachian Brewing Company, 50 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg. This very special concert with an American music icon starts at 4 p.m. His 2010 Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert sold out.

Concert tickets are $40 General Admission and $38 for SFMS members and members of the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at www.brownpapertickets.com or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society web site at http://www.sfmsfolk.org.

The following are excerpts from an exclusive interview conducted with David Bromberg on October 3, 2013.

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Folkmama:  We’re looking forward to your performance for the Susquehanna Folk Music Society on November 17th. What can the audience expect to hear from you?

David: I never really plan what I’m going to play in a set. I never know what I’m going to play next, so I let it roll along by itself.

Folkmama: Last time you performed for us you played more blues than you usually do in a larger band configuration.

David: I have kind of a different repertoire of tunes that I do by myself than what I do with the band. Sometimes it might be more country blues– it’s maybe just a bit more rootsy than the band performances. I might play some fiddle tunes, so things like that as well.

Folkmama: We always like to reach out to the uninitiated– people who may not know your music. So I wonder if you can give us a David Bromberg 101.

David: OK, well… I’ve played with Bob Dylan, I wrote a song with George Harrison, I’ve played with Phoebe Snow, Carly Simon and Tom Paxton.  I recorded with Blood, Sweat and Tears and Rick Derringer. I’m been basically all over the map. I was a studio guitar player for a number of years and I also play Dobro and mandolin on some records. John Prine—I played some mandolin with him as well as guitar. I played with Dr. John quite a bit. I’m on over 150 recordings of other people’s.

Folkmama: How about your career as a solo musician or with one of your own bands?

David: I have a band and we play roots music or Americana as they call it today. We started performing in the 70s. At around 1980 I got burned out because I was performing too much. I didn’t realize it was burn out. I just didn’t feel that I was a musician any more. So I decided to find another way to live my life so I didn’t play again for 22 years. (He pauses) I shouldn’t say I didn’t play again totally; every now and then I’d do something. My career was doing really well at the time though. I mean, you work that much it better be doing well. But I was more interested in keeping my sanity than my career.

Folkmama: And you were living in California then?

David: Yes, that’s right.

Folkmama: I read that you attended a violin school. You learned how to build violins. So how long did that schooling last?

David: Four years, I graduated. I’m technically a violin maker. I found it really fascinating that a person could look at an instrument and by looking at the way its build tell when and where it was built and by whom. And that’s what I wanted to learn. And then I continued to study for quite a few years.  So now people bring me things, they want to know what they are or what they are worth and I can frequently tell them.

Folkmama: So do you build violins at all now?

David: No people bring me things for identification or appraisal. I have a full service violin shop and in the shop I do the appraisals and other people build violins and bows and do repairs. We do everything there.

Folkmama: And that’s in Delaware?

David: In Wilmington, Delaware.

Folkmama: So through the years I’ve listened to your music a lot and I’ve found you to be a great entertainer. You have a lot of really wonderful humor on stage. Is it part of you intent when you play the blues to make it accessible to listeners as a way to preserve it?

David: I play music that I like and I love the blues. I never thought of myself as a conservator, or a museum or anything close to that. This is music I like. And as to the humor, there’s a point where irony and humor intersect. And irony is essential to the blues.

Folkmama: When you play for us in Harrisburg, you’re going to be playing in a very informal setting–at a brew pub.  It’s a neat little venue. Do you enjoy playing in smaller venues?

David: There is something nice about being really close to your audience. It feels a little more interactive. There is something more intimate and conversational about it. But there are times that you like to kick out the jams [in a larger venue]. So it’s good to do both.

Folkmama: Tell me about your new CD “Only Slightly Mad” . I guess it came out just last month.

David: The new CD is the best recording I’ve ever done. It was produced by Larry Campbell. We recorded it at Levon Helm’s barn in Woodstock, NY. Levon was an old friend of mine. Even though Levon was gone, he was all around us when we recorded.

Folkmama: Anything I missed?

David:  The shows—people who see them, enjoy them. It’s just human stuff. It’s real.

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