David Bromberg

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David Bromberg
Bromberg in 1984
Bromberg in 1984
Background information
Born (1945-09-19) September 19, 1945 (age 77)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
Years active1960s–present

David Bromberg (born September 19, 1945) is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter.[1][2] An eclectic artist, Bromberg plays bluegrass, blues, folk, jazz, country and western, and rock and roll. He is known for his quirky, humorous lyrics, and the ability to play rhythm and lead guitar at the same time.

Bromberg has played with many famous musicians, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Jorma Kaukonen, Jerry Garcia, Rusty Evans (The Deep) and Bob Dylan. He co-wrote the song "The Holdup" with George Harrison, who played on Bromberg's self-titled 1972 album. In 2008, he was nominated for a Grammy Award.[3] Bromberg is known for his fingerpicking style that he learned from Reverend Gary Davis.[4][5]

Musical career[edit]

David Bromberg and Associates Fine Violins

Bromberg was born to a Jewish family in Philadelphia and raised in Tarrytown, New York.[6][7] He attended Columbia College of Columbia University in the 1960s, studying guitar with Reverend Gary Davis during that period.[1] He soon established himself as a solo performer and accompanist on the mid-1960s Greenwich Village folk circuit.[8]

Proficient on fiddle, many styles of acoustic and electric guitar, pedal steel guitar and dobro, Bromberg gained a reputation through his session work for artists such as Jerry Jeff Walker and Bob Dylan. He contributed to the latter's 1970 albums Self Portrait and New Morning,[1] and was one of Dylan's preferred musicians.[9] That same year, he backed folk singer Rosalie Sorrels at the Isle of Wight Festival and then performed an impromptu solo set. The success of this appearance led to him being offered a recording contract with Columbia Records.[1]

Bromberg's self-titled debut album, released in early 1972,[8] included his composition "Sammy's Song", featuring Dylan on harmonica, and "The Holdup", co-written with George Harrison.[10] Issued as a single, "The Holdup" was a popular choice on U.S. radio;[1] according to a 1998 review in the American roots music magazine No Depression, the song became "perhaps [Bromberg's] best known work".[11] The collaboration also influenced Harrison's development as a slide guitarist, as Bromberg introduced the former Beatle to the dobro.[12]

His seven-minute rendition of "Mr. Bojangles" from 1972's Demon in Disguise, interspersed with tales about traveling with the song's author, Jerry Jeff Walker, earned Bromberg progressive rock radio airplay. In 1973, he played mandolin, dobro, and electric guitar on Jonathan Edwards' album Have a Good Time for Me.

Bromberg in 2018

Bromberg released Try Me One More Time in 2007, his first studio recording since 1990. It included Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" and Elizabeth Cotten's "Shake Sugaree". The album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Traditional Folk Album at the 50th annual Grammy Awards in 2008.[3] His 2011 album Use Me features guest appearances by Levon Helm, John Hiatt, Tim O'Brien, Dr. John, Keb' Mo', Los Lobos, Widespread Panic, Linda Ronstadt, and Vince Gill.

Bromberg currently lives in Wilmington, Delaware, where he and his wife, artist Nancy Josephson, own an extensive violin sales and repair shop.[13] On December 3, 2021 he announced that he sold the violin repair shop. He occasionally performs at Wilmington's Grand Opera House, where he and his wife are major donors. For six years, ending in May 2017, he sometimes performed at the new World Cafe Live Wilmington, in The Queen Theater.[14]


As a solo artist or band leader[edit]

LPs and CDs:


  • The Guitar Artistry of David Bromberg: Demon in Disguise (2008)
  • A Guitar Lesson with David Bromberg (2009)
  • David Bromberg and His Big Band In Concert at the Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ. (2009)


  • The David Bromberg Quartet at MerleFest, April 29, 2006 (2006)
  • David Bromberg & Angel Band at Philadelphia Folk Festival, August 16, 2007 (2007)
  • The David Bromberg Quartet at MerleFest, April 25, 2009 (2009)

With other artists[edit]

David Bromberg has contributed musically to many albums by other musicians and bands. This is a partial list of those recordings.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b c d e Deming, Mark. "David Bromberg". AllMusic. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  2. ^ David Bromberg biography at Billboard.com
  3. ^ a b "2008 Grammy Nominations Announced", Great American Country
  4. ^ Studio, Design Intervention. "A Guitar Lesson With David Bromberg". Guitarvideos.com.
  5. ^ "Episode 772 - David Bromberg". Wtfpod.com. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  6. ^ David Bromberg and Jorma Kaukonen at Tarrytown Music Hall, January 22, 2010 Archived February 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine at zvents.com
  7. ^ Caputo, Salvatore (June 15, 2007). "David Bromberg Asks Audience to Try Him Again" Archived June 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Romanowski, Patricia; George-Warren, Holly, eds. (1995). The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York, NY: Fireside/Rolling Stone Press. pp. 117–18. ISBN 0-684-81044-1.
  9. ^ Heylin, Clinton (2011). Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades (The 20th Anniversary Edition). London: Faber and Faber. p. 313. ISBN 978-0-571-27240-2.
  10. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "David Bromberg David Bromberg". AllMusic. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "David Bromberg—The Player: A Retrospective". No Depression. September 1, 1998. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  12. ^ Leng, Simon (2006). While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard. p. 73. ISBN 1-4234-0609-5.
  13. ^ Baker, James M. (retrieved January 5, 2008) Mayor Baker Says Renown Musician And Collector David Bromberg And His Wife, Sculptor Nancy Josephson, Will Call Wilmington 'Home'[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "World Cafe Live". Worldcafelive.com. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  15. ^ David Bromberg discography at Wirz.de
  16. ^ David Bromberg credits at AllMusic
  17. ^ Leng, Simon (2006). While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard. p. 138. ISBN 1-4234-0609-5.

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]