2011 Appleseed Records
By Phillip Smith; July 16, 2011 originally for BluesRevue.com
David Bromberg, the legendary singer/songwriter/instrumentalist brings it again, this time with a little help from his friends. With each track sporting a special guest, the idea for Use Me initiated from an invitation from John Hiatt to mess around in his Nashville studio. From that point on, Bromberg called up a variety of musically talented friends, and asked them each to assist in one way or another in recording a song with him. The results of this chain of events culminate into a wondrous potpourri of music.
Bromberg kick-starts the sequence of songs with “Tongue”, a fun bluesy treat featuring Levon Helm on drums, and a tight rhythm section. A second track featuring Helm, “Bring it With You When You Come” is a little more rusty and country-fried, reminding me a bit of Helm’s earlier recordings with The Band.
Keb’ Mo’ lends his talent as producer/guitarist on slow-paced “Diggin’ in the Deep Blue Sea”, a timely response to the BP Oil Spill of 2010. Well written and thought out, this one brings attention to the dangers of off-shore drilling, as Bromberg sings “Now the fish can’t swim. You know the birds can’t fly. We keep right on pumping ’cause demand is high.”.
“Blue is Falling”, recorded with Tim O’Brien on mandolin and backing vocals is a favorite. Stuart Duncan on fiddle, accentuates the song as Bromberg seems to channel Roy Orbison during the chorus. Another country ditty, “Lookout Mountain Girl”, has Bromberg enlisting the talent of Vince Gill (electric guitar, mandolin, backing vocals). A track quite danceable and suitable for a Saturday night hoedown in Tennessee.
A pair of other favorites are “Old Neighborhood” and “Use Me”. “Old Neighborhood”, a track recorded with, and produced by Widespread Panic, is a playful and funky track, with lots of hot guitar licks and soulful keyboards. Title track, “Use Me”, the grand finale of the album was produced by Phil and Joe Nicolo, aka The Butcher Bros. Jim Miades contributes the bass line which adds the somewhat hypnotic groove which makes this one so enjoyable.
The list of contributors is as impressive as the album itself. The remaining artists include Dr. John, Los Lobos, Linda Ronstadt, and of course John Hiatt. Use Me is a nice album to listen to on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or any other time for that matter.