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Straight outta Wilmington

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David Bromberg
Sunday, Jan. 21 Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Wilmington, Del., wants to be known as something other than the capital of the nation's credit card industry. So five years ago the city gave guitarist David Bromberg a downtown building for free, with a few strings (the musical kind) attached.

He and his wife, sculptor Nancy Josephson, agreed to move there. They relocated Bromberg's charming retail violin shop from Chicago. And they started a weekly jam session at a local cafÃ. The idea was to build on the credentials of Bromberg's 40-year folk/rock career to attract other musicians and to incubate a Wilmington cultural district.

When Bromberg performs at the Barrymore Theatre, you'll see why Wilmington was willing to finance him at a 0% introductory offer. He was part of the Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1960s and was the session guitarist of choice for a generation of musicians that included Bob Dylan, the Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson and Carly Simon. His 1971 debut album for Columbia Records included the single 'The Holdup,' which he co-wrote with George Harrison.

Bromberg, 61, put out four albums on Columbia during the 1970s. His material was steeped in folk and blues, but expanded with each new release to include bluegrass, ragtime and country. He stopped recording and touring in 1980. 'I got burned out, but I didn't know it was burnout,' he says.

So he moved to Chicago and spent four years learning to make violins. He opened a violin sales and repair shop near Hyde Park.

The weekly jam sessions Bromberg began shortly after moving to Wilmington in 2002 rekindled his interest in making music.

The Angel Band were born from those cafà jams. They are fronted by three female harmony singers, including Bromberg's wife. Backed by fiddle, mandolin and guitar, they play a lively variety of folk and bluegrass.

On this tour, the Angel Band will support Bromberg, who is set to release his first studio album in 17 years. Try Me One More Time is due out in late February on Appleseed Recordings.

The new album is a solo effort and recalls Bromberg's early Greenwich Village days. It includes covers of Dylan, Elizabeth Cotton and Robert Johnson.

For the total Wilmington experience, be sure to buy your tickets for the Barrymore show using your favorite piece of high-interest plastic.

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