Music Legend David Bromberg on Beating Burnout and Playing with the Greats

Feb 23, 2017

Grammy-nominated David Bromberg took a 22-year hiatus from music, went to violin-making school, and returned to tell the tale. 

"I was completely burnt out--I was on the road for two years without being home for two weeks," Bromberg says. He wasn't practicing, jamming, or creating. "It got to me...I didn't want to be one of these guys who drags himself on a stage and does a bitter imitation of something he used to love."  

Violins became interesting as intellectual pursuit: Bromberg wanted to be the guy who could take a look inside a violin and tell you the make and model. And that's exactly what does at the David Bromberg and Associates Fine Violin Store in Wilmington, Delaware, which is still open for business.

The list of big-ticket musicians Bromberg has played with through the span of his career is impressive--Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Los Lobos, George Harrison, Jonathan Richman to name a few--but the lesser-known  Reverend Gary Davis and Johnny Shines led to some of the most interesting, authentic tales of the blues.

"Reverend Gary Davis was blind and one of the greatest guitar players to walk on the planet." Bromberg says he took lessons from Davis and led him to church and gigs in exchange. Bromberg also produced an album for Johnny Shines, who traveled with Robert Johnson in the thirties.  

KRCC's Jeff Bieri recently had the pleasure of hosting Bromberg on the Blue Plate Special, where he came in with his backing band from his new album The Blues, The Whole Blues, and Nothing But the Blues

Listen to the full interview above, from the latest episode of Air Check.