For Only Slightly Mad, Bromberg returned to the formula that made his his 1970s albums so great – which is to say there is no formula at all. From blues, to bluegrass to rhythm and blues, Bromberg does it all, and his new album covers the full range of his musical interests. In the liner notes, Bromberg explained that the album was originally set to be Chicago-style blues but producer Larry Campbell proposed making an album similar to Bromberg’s 70s classics, with all the genres Bromberg likes to play. Thus, the album opens with the blues that was intended all along, with Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and Big Bill Broonzy’s “Keep on Drinking” but makes an about face turn to country music with David Wiffen’s “Drivin’ Wheel” and then pivots right back into the blues with “I’ll Take You Back” by Rick Estrin (of the Nightcats). Then the album spins into what Bromberg calls “an old English drinking song … which I wrote” followed by a medley of jigs. It’s all old fashioned fun with the humor and musicianship fans came to expect from Bromberg in his prime – a prime that is apparently ongoing.
Over the years, Bromberg has earned the respect of a battalion of great musicians. His regular band includes extraordinary guitarist Mark Cosgrove, fiddle and mandolin player Nate Grower, Butch Amiot on bass, Josh Kanusky on drums, John Firmin on sex and Peter Ecklund on trumpet. Joining him on Only Slightly Mad were Larry Campbell on guitars, Harvey Tibbs on trombone, and Brian Mitchell on keyboards, with guest appearances by John Sebastion on harmonica, John McEuen on banjo, Johnny Duke on electric guitar, and vocals from John Roberts, Tony Barrand, Nancy Josephson, Kathleen Weber, Amy Helm and Teresa Williams.