Monday, 9 May 2011

Two Daves

Thanks to the cavalcade of wonders that is ReviewShine, I have got my hands on two fine new releases by a couple of stalwarts of the American roots music scene, David Bromberg and David Olney.

David Bromberg is the far famed guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who started off as sideman to the stars, moving on to release a series of excellent albums of his own in the 1970s and 1980s before giving it all up to make violins. 2007's Grammy-nominated "Try Me One More Time" album was his first album of new material for seventeen years. Fortunately he hasn't left it as long until the next one, and "Use Me" comes out on Appleseed Records on 12 July in the States (and presumably elsewhere too through the magic of the Internet).

The idea behind the album was to ring up a load of his mates and get them to contribute some songs and performances. I used to do that in my youth and the results were - to quote Recommended Records when they rejected our efforts - "a bedroom tape and should be kept in your bedroom".

It is a bit different when you are David Bromberg and your mates are people like Levon Helm, Dr John and Los Lobos. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable tour of the blues and other roots styles, which sounds like it was even more fun to play on than it is to listen to, and is well worth your time and money. Personal favourites include "Diggin' In The Deep Blue Sea" featuring Keb Mo, "Lookout Mountain Girl" with Vince Gill, and this one, which I am sure you will agree is very John Hiatt.

"Ride Out A Ways" - David Bromberg (with John Hiatt)

Along with Tom Russell and James McMurtry, David Olney is one of the greatest American story tellers working today. I had the great pleasure of seeing him play The Borderline in London about ten years ago when for some inexplicable reason there was no more than a dozen of us in the place (and that included the barstaff). Despite that he put on a great show and was gracious enough to let me buy him a beer afterwards.

There has always been a cinematic element to his music and with his new five track mini-album he goes the whole hog. The title - "David Olney Presents Film Noir" - gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect. As the great man himself puts it in the blurb I got sent  with it, “this record is kind of ‘50s/’60s detective music. There’s a certain darkness without being bleak.” Although I'm not entirely sure about the "not being bleak" bit of that. It is a tough call as which of the five tracks best evokes the hard-bitten world-weariness of Lew Archer and the like, but I have plumped for "Sunset On Sunset Boulevard".

"David Olney Presents Film Noir" comes out on 24 May on Dead Beet Records. You should get it. And to encourage you to dip into his extensive back catalogue as well, I have taken the liberty of adding an old favourite as well, in the form of "King of Soul" from 1989's "Deeper Well" album.

"Sunset On Sunset Boulevard" - David Olney

"King Of Soul" - David Olney

To finish things off, here is Dave O.

And here is Dave B with his Big Band.


  1. love these songs - esp 'sunset' and 'ride out a ways'. all i knew of david olney previously is 'jerusalem tomorrow' (also a great song). thanks, matt

  2. Thank you for the wonderful article
    and remembering...
    and then waiting for the 'next stage to happen