Dr. John, Levon Helm, John Hiatt, more Guest on New David Bromberg Album
When David Bromberg, one of America's finest roots musicians, emerged from a recording hiatus of 17 years with the solo, acoustic, traditional folk-blues album Try Me One More Time (Appleseed, 2007), fans and critics were thrilled, and the CD was rewarded with a Grammy nomination.
For his follow-up album, Use Me, Bromberg chose a different approach: Why not ask some of his favorite singer-songwriters and musicians to write (or choose), produce, and perform on songs tailored to his versatile but distinctive skills as a guitarist and vocalist?
Rather than collating individual instrumental parts literally phoned in to a central location, the recording sessions for Use Me generally took place on each guest artist's home turf — in Woodstock (Levon Helm), New Orleans (Dr. John), Nashville (John Hiatt, Tim O'Brien, Vince Gill), Los Angeles (Los Lobos), and so on, to retain their regional flavors. For Bromberg, who started his professional career as an accompanist for everyone from Dion and Jay and the Americans to Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, the sessions were simultaneously a throwback to his sideman days and a sidestep from his own recordings. "As artist and producer, I get to completely mold my vision of how the song should go," he explains. "The drawback is that I don't get many ideas that are not my own. It was fascinating for me to see the different approaches that everyone used in production."