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David Bromberg's USE ME Tapes Friends

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?

Answering David’s call were well-known artists from the many genres comprising the amorphous “Americana” musical category. Representing contemporary rootsy singer-songwriters: John Hiatt, the first musician Bromberg approached, who penned the pensive “Ride On Out a Ways” for him; for New Orleans “fonk,” Dr. John; there’s three-guitar jam band interplay with Widespread Panic and jug band music with Levon Helm (the sprightly “Bring It With You When You Come,” produced by Grammy-winning Larry Campbell). Linda Ronstadt puts in a rare appearance on a soulful Brook Benton ballad, Los Lobos contribute a Mexican-flavored waltz, Vince Gill and Tim O’Brien take care of the country and bluegrass quotient, Keb’ Mo’ brings the blues, and the hitmaking Butcher Brothers, producers Phil and Joe Nicolo (Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Cypress Hill, Nine Inch Nails), provide the languid R&B groove for the title song, a cover of Bill Withers’ classic “Use Me.”

The resultant album is due for July 12, 2011 release on Appleseed Records. A national tour will ensue.
Standout tracks change with each listening, but some of the high points include the crisp blues shuffle “Tongue,” the album’s lone Bromberg original, with Levon Helm on drums; “You Don’t Wanna Make Me Mad,” featuring David on slide guitar and Dr. John on piano; the ominous slow blues “Diggin’ in the Deep Blue Sea,” updated by Keb’ Mo’ and Gary Nicholson from Larry Davis’ “Texas Flood” to address the dangers of offshore drilling, and the chipper Vince Gill — Guy Clark co-write “Lookout Mountain Girl,” the only song on which David cedes most of the lead guitar duties (to Vince, although David splits the lead with Widespread Panic’s Jimmy Herring on “Old Neighborhood”).
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.”
No matter who the producers, songwriters or accompanying musicians are on Use Me, Bromberg’s expressive guitar-playing and “rippling Fred Neil-like baritone that . . . brings warm, reassuring comfort” (Rolling Stone) remain the centerpiece of the CD, diamonds in golden settings.
Born in Philadelphia in 1945 and raised in Tarrytown, NY, “I listened to rock ’n’ roll and whatever else was on the radio,” says Bromberg. “I discovered Pete Seeger and The Weavers and, through them, Reverend Gary Davis. I then discovered Big Bill Broonzy, who led me to Muddy Waters and the Chicago blues. This was more or less the same time I discovered Flatt and Scruggs, which led to Bill Monroe and Doc Watson.”
Bromberg began studying guitar when he was 13 and eventually enrolled in Columbia University as a musicology major. The call of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-’60s drew David to the downtown clubs and coffeehouses, where he could watch and learn from the best performers, including primary sources such as his inspiration and teacher, the Reverend Gary Davis.
Bromberg’s sensitive, blues-based approach to guitar-playing earned him jobs playing the Village “basket houses” for tips, the occasional paying gig, and lots of employment as a backing musician for Tom Paxton, Jerry Jeff Walker and Rosalie Sorrels, among others. He became a first-call, “hired gun” guitarist for recording sessions, playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (New Morning, Self Portrait, Dylan), Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson and Carly Simon. In the early ’90s, David produced an as-yet-unreleased Dylan album, although two tracks have been issued as part of Dylan’s “Bootleg Series.”
An unexpected and wildly successful solo spot at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in Great Britain led to a solo deal with Columbia Records, for whom David recorded four albums. His eponymous 1971 debut included the mock-anguished “Suffer To Sing the Blues,” a Bromberg original that became an FM radio staple, and “The Holdup,” a songwriting collaboration with former Beatle George Harrison on which Harrison also played slide guitar. David, who had met the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia at the Woodstock Festival when they both took refuge from the rain in a tepee, wound up with four Dead members, including Garcia, playing on his next two albums.
Bromberg’s range of material, based in the folk and blues idioms, continually expanded with each new album to encompass bluegrass, ragtime, country and ethnic music, and his touring band grew apace. By the mid-’70s, the David Bromberg Big Band included horn-players, a fiddler, and several multi-instrumentalists, including David himself. Among the best-known Bromberg Band graduates: mandolinist Andy Statman, later a major figure in the Klezmer music movement in America, and fiddler Jay Ungar (who wrote the memorable “Ashokan Farewell” for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary, “The Civil War”).
Despite jubilant, loose-limbed concerts and a string of acclaimed albums on the Fantasy label, Bromberg found himself exhausted by the logistics of the music business. “I decided to change the direction of my life,” he explains. So David dissolved his band in 1980, and he and his artist/musician wife, Nancy Josephson, moved from Northern California to Chicago, where David attended the Kenneth Warren School of Violin Making. Though he still toured periodically, the recordings slowed to a trickle and then stopped.
After “too many Chicago winters,” in 2002 David and Nancy moved to Wilmington, Del., where they currently serve as unofficial “artists in residence” and where David established David Bromberg Fine Violins, a retail store and repair shop for high quality instruments. Frequent participation in the city’s weekly jam sessions helped rekindle Bromberg’s desire to perform music “live” again, and the encouragement of fellow musicians Chris Hillman (The Byrds, Desert Rose Band, Flying Burrito Brothers) and bluegrass wizard Herb Pedersen helped nudge him back into the recording studio. The Wilmington jams also led to the formation of Angel Band, fronted by Nancy and two other female vocalists, with David frequently serving as an accompanist.
Bromberg’s participation in his local and musical community has subsequently included a fund-raising music festival (Bromberg’s Big Noise in the Neighborhood) to help renovate a local theater, and a keynote address at this past spring’s Folk Alliance International convention, a non-profit organization of musicians, concert presenters and industry professionals.
David continues his musical revitalization with projects like Use Me, playing solo shows or backed by his own bluegrass quartet and reunions of the David Bromberg Big Band. Use your ears and catch him when you can!

Great American Taxi Shows canceled this weekend

Hey Folks-

We're sorry to inform the Colorado folks that our three shows in Fort Collins, Breckenridge and Durango are canceled.  Vince's father has been extremely ill and he needs to be there with him right now.  We are all supporting Vince through this difficult time.  We are planning to pick up the tour in Park City on Feb 16th.  We are bummed to be missing these home state shows and plan on rescheduling all of them in the next month or two, we hope you all understand and please keep Vince and his family in your thoughts and prayers.  There's tons of Taxi rides coming up so check the calendar and find out where we'll be.  We hope this finds you all happy and healthy, let all those people in your life know that you love them.  We'll see you soon, best wishes.

Great American Taxi

Vince Herman to host KBCO Groove Show

Howdy Halloween freakers, Vince Herman here! The Salmon are swimming into the Fillmore again for a wild night of music, costumes, debauchery and late night parading down Colfax!

Next Saturday is our Zombie Jamboree at the Fillmore Auditorium! We will be celebrating Halloween with Todd Snider featuring Great American Taxi opening the show. There will also be a costume contest with a great grand prize, see details below.

On Friday October 29th the debauchery begins with the Drew Emmitt Band and Great American Taxi featuring Todd Snider. We're performing a kickoff party to the Halloween weekend at the Gothic Theatre In Englewood. This holiday is just too much fun for one show, so come out and make a weekend of it.

I’ll be hosting the KBCO Groove Show this Saturday! It’s a jamband show on a mainstream FM station. Hippies are taking over everywhere! Check it out on the web or on your radio here in Boulder. This Saturday from 10pm-12am tune in to 97.3 KBCO Boulder/Denver or on the web at www.kbco.com.  Turn up, Drop in, Freak out!!

Salmon is in its twentieth year of having you great folks to play for! We are eternally grateful for your ears and your time, and hope you all have a great holiday!

See you all soon,

Vince Herman

Get your Fillmore tickets HERE

Great American Taxi Donates Track to Coal Miners Relief Fund

Just in time for Earth Day (April 22), Great American Taxi, whose current album Reckless Habits is climbing the Americana radio airplay charts, has donated a free download of a song, “Appalachian Soul” culled from its debut album Streets of Gold, to raise awareness of the plight of coal miners and their communities in West Virginia. The track is offered free to radio stations that agree to direct listeners to GreatAmericanTaxi.com, which in turn links to West Virginia Council of Churches website, which collects donations for the miners.

GAT frontman Vince Herman, who grew up in West Virginia, comments: “Great American Taxi sends our thoughts out to the families and communities effected by the mining disaster at the upper big branch mine. We hope that their unconquerable Appalachian spirit and families can help them navigate these difficult times. The country and the world share in their grief. We need coal.  We need our miners to be safe. We need understanding on all sides of this contentious issue of our national energy policy. We would like to make Taxis' tribute to that  Appalachian spirit available as a download here and suggest a donation to the WV council of churches to assist  the families of our fallen brothers. Let's all come together and honor the families who have paid that ultimate price for our energy needs and hope that this is the last such disaster we must face.”

In the past five years, Great American Taxi has become one of the best-known headliners on the jam band circuit, their uninhibited sound a swinging concoction of swampy blues, progressive bluegrass, funky New Orleans strut, Southern boogie, honky tonk, gospel and good old fashioned rock ’n’ roll. That loose, anything-can-happen feel is the hallmark of Reckless Habits, the band’s second album, which was recorded in Loveland, Colo., with producer Tim Carbone (from Railroad Earth) bringing the feel of an onstage performance to the recording process. The new album was released through Thirty Tigers on March 2, 2010.

Blurt called Reckless Habits “a giddy combination of boogie, blues, bluegrass, nu-grass and honky-tonk, it's as readily infectious and genuinely freewheeling as its eclectic content might imply. Hopefully this Great American Taxi will continue to take listeners along for similarly spirited rides in the future.”  Country Standard Time called it  “a well rounded album that fully pays homage to Gram Parsons and his vision of a cosmic American sound that incorporates all the pages of the American Roots songbook.”

When banjo player Mark Vann of Leftover Salmon died of cancer in 2002, that band desolved. Salmon singer/guitarist/mandolinist Vince Herman had a few rough years and survived a broken neck before joining keyboardist Chad Staehly for a superstar jam to benefit the Rainforest Action Group in Boulder in March 2005. “We put together a dream band of the best local musicians for a one-off gig,” Herman recalls. “It worked so well we had to do it again, and again, and again.” And so Great American Taxi was born. The current lineup includes Herman, Staehly, guitarist Jim Lewin, bassist Brian Adams and drummer Chris Sheldon.

Vince Herman with The David Nelson Band in Hawaii!

photos by Sam Holloway- for the Grateful Web

Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon, Great American Taxi) will be joining the David Nelson Band for their extended stay in Hawaii this January.  This is the 3rd year The David Nelson Band has made the trip to the islands and the fist year Vince will be joining in on their fun little island adventure.  The David Nelson Band includes Pete Sears, John Molo, Barry Sless, and Mookie Siegel.  The trip to the islands will start on Friday, January 16th in Pahoa, HI and then its off to Keauhou, HI on the 17th. On the 18th the band and Herman will be in Ocean View, HI followed by a private party in S. Kona on the 19th.  The private party will be an all day affair starting around noon and finishing up at 7 with a full day of sun, music and an island feast all right on the beach - admission includes food, beer, and wine.  After a short break to give everyone ample time to enjoy the big island everyone will be moving on to Maui to continue the festivities!  January 22nd in Kihei at Soundawg's Pool Party, the 23rd at Stella Blues also in Kihei and wrapping up the whole adventure on the 24th at Charley's in Paia, Maui.  For more information on the whole ride click here.  FESTIVAAAAALLLLLL!!!

Vince Welnick Died Friday, June 2nd, 2006

Vince Welnick- for the Grateful Web

Vince died Friday, June 2nd.  He played keyboards with the Grateful Dead from September 1990 - August 1995.  Though he received a lot of criticism during his tenure, Vince was a loving, happy guy who played his heart out with the band.  Grateful Web sends our thoughts to his family and friends.  Thanks for your loving nature, Vince. We'll miss you...

***

"No fear, no hate, could be greater then the size of;
The love that I am seeing deep in the eyes of;
All of my friends, True Blue"
Vince Welnick "Missing Man Formation"
 
 
This song by Vince Welnick was a key inspiration for Quixote's True Blue and the guiding spirit of each of the places that we created successively.  Vince Welnick, the last keyboardist for the Grateful Dead, passed away today, June 2nd.  This bright and charming keyboardist eagerly took the place of Brent Mydland in the Grateful Dead hotseat creating some very memorable moments in the golden days of the Grateful Dead.  He led me to a greater understanding of Jerry Garcia when he said that "he could be ornery at times, but I have never met a kinder gentler man in  my life.  When I first saw Jerry Garcia I believed in Santa Claus.  Everybody is asking the big question and love is the answer.  And I'll always believe in Santa Claus."  Shortly after Jerry Garcia died, Vince Welnick, created a band called Missing Man Formation which was probably the strongest post-Dead band that I ever saw.  In fact when I first saw this band in 1996 and they did the long forgotten song, Saint Stephen,I thought I was going to explode.  Yes, spontaneously combustion was on my mind and I was giddy like a child.  Vince also played at my wedding August 9th at Red Rocks with Gregg's Eggs.   He was all about love and his presence on that day made it all the more special.  His heart was full of compassion in a seemingly heartless world.  He left his mark on my family and will always be considered a member of it.  In short, he will be missed as a friend and a brother.
 
February 21st, 1951 - June 2nd 2006
 
Stay True Blue,