David Bromberg Band: A House Concert

Through fortuitous circumstances, I was extended an invitation to attend a house concert by the David Bromberg Band. Bromberg doesn’t do house concert, but our hosts for the evening, Bob and Dee Macchione, have been friends with him for many years. The show on Wednesday, February 23, came between concerts in Ponte Vedra and in Key West.

His touring band is blessed with incredible talent to match Bromberg’s: Mark Cosgrove, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, and vocals; Nate Grower, fiddle; Josh Kanusky, drums; and Suavek Zaniesienko, bass guitar, electric upright bass, and vocals.

David Bromberg Band

Bromberg was in fine form, switching back and forth between electric and acoustic guitars. His voice sounded superb as they opened with “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” This song was kicking, a wonderful way to begin the evening, following that up with “Blues Ain’t Nothing.”

An early highlight was the delightful “I’ll Take You Back,” promising to take his ex back “When rattlesnakes have knees, and money grows on trees” and more impossible conditions, closing with this one recently added to the tune: “When winter has no frost, and Trump admits he lost.” Grower flexed his fiddle muscles on this one, and Bromberg soloed as well.

Bromberg switched to acoustic, and Grower took another spin on “Hello, Stranger,” with a great country reading of “It’s Over” up next. “Dark Hollow,” a tune penned by Bill Browning in 1958, features lyrics that have resonated ever since:

So blow your whistle freight train carry me far on down the track
Well I’m going away, I’m leaving today
I’m going but I ain’t coming back

When Cosgrove began his mandolin solo, Bromberg called out numerous musicians’ styles for him to play; he did the same for Grower. That was wonderful.

David Bromberg Band

Cosgrove, Grower, and Bromberg (electric) all soloed on “Who Will the Next Fool Be.” Several notes: for every song, Zaniesienko and Kanusky offered perfect rhythmic accompaniment. Zaniesienko and Cosgrove were excellent vocalists as well. There was another round of solos on “I Keep Movin’ On.” All five put their instruments down and stood together at the front of the stage for a riveting “Standing in Need of Prayer.” [Ed. note: it is entirely possible I have butchered a few song titles, but I think I’m in the ballpark.]

“Standing in Need of Prayer” – David Bromberg Band

Bromberg noted that his flatpicking skills at 76 have slowed down and that everybody in the band is faster than he. With that, he and the band left the stage to Cosgrove to flatpick a ballad he wrote called “Sad Little Day.”

Bromberg then appeared solo for a song he wrote about going to Columbia, using code words for pot; thus: “Mary Jane.” Then he said, “It’s time for a waltz,” and the band responded with “Tennessee Waltz” in all its heartache. “Summer Wages” is a tuned penned by Ian Tyson (1987) with the admonition: “Never hit seventeen When you play against the dealer.” This was very uptempo with Cosgrove on mandolin.

David Bromberg Band

The quintet closed with a rave-up: “The New Lee Highway Blues,” which first appeared on Wanted DEAD OR ALIVE (1974). This one kicked major ass, with everybody stretching out. Grower was spectacular, as was Cosgrove on mandolin.

And they were done. We (the noisy children in front) were fortunate to get an encore, and we were blessed with the remarkable “Roll On, John,” with everyone standing together, including Kanusky holding his snare and a brush (feature image above). Zaniesienko’s lovely voice really stood out on this finale.

David Bromberg & Nate Grower – David Bromberg Band

 

Magnificent hosts, wonderful setting, incredible band, and the one and only David Bromberg! Truly blessed! And thanks to Sylla Sheppard-Hanger for including me!

Josh Kanusky, David Bromberg & Nate Grower – David Bromberg Band

[Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Blues Ain’t Nothing, I’ll Take You Back, Hello Stranger, It’s Over, Dark Hollow, Who Will the Next Fool Be, I Keep Movin’ On, Standing in Need of Prayer, Sad Little Day, Mary Jane, Tennessee Waltz, Summer Wages, The New Lee Highway Blues; E: Roll On John]

A few words about the spectacular setting. The pool surrounds a guitar. You walk on the bridge (of course) to get down into the guitar body, where there are drums for seats and more. This first image shows seats in the pool.

And, YES, I asked him to autograph albums! He reminded us that the drawing on his eponymous debut was down by his sister, Sarina.

 

 

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