Still singing the blues

David Bromberg opens concert series, followed by Tall Heights and Ryan Montbleau.

Courtesy Jess Phaneuf.

David Bromberg, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, kicks off this year’s M.V. Summer Concert Series with an 8 pm concert on Monday, July 9, at the Old Whaling Church. The concert is followed by Tall Heights and Ryan Montbleau at the same venue the next night, July 10, at 7:30 pm.

Bromberg’s record “The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues” was released a couple of years ago to wide acclaim. Produced by Levon Helm and Bob Dylan’s longtime collaborator and three-time Grammy winner, Larry Campbell, Bromberg’s first album since 2013 includes a curated selection of blues tunes and a couple of original compositions.

During the course of his 50-plus-year career, Bromberg has worked with George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Garcia, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, the Eagles, and other musicians and singers. His blues guitar playing harkens to Robert Johnson, George “Little Hat” Jones, Sonny Boy Williamson, and other greats. Bromberg’s guitar work includes amped electric lead, but also delicate acoustic fingerpicking. His voice has only improved over time, and has a soulful quality rich with blues-laced notes.

Bromberg took a long break from recording and focused on his Wilmington, Del., business, David Bromberg Fine Violins, which is still up and running. He’s a multi-instrumentalist with a mastery of several string instruments such as guitar, fiddle, Dobro, and mandolin. This is Bromberg’s first Island concert, he wrote in an email to The Times.

“This is the first time the band and myself have EVER played the Vineyard, as far as I can recall,” he said. “But we’re very happy to be doing it, and we’ll try to make sure it’s a night no one will forget.”

Tall Heights and Ryan Montbleau headline a benefit concert for MVY Radio on July 10 at the Old Whaling Church. Boston electro-folk duo Tall Heights, formed in 2010, is made up of singer-guitarist Tim Harrington and singer-cellist Paul Wright. The Chicago Sun Times described their sound: “It’s a contemporary sound that is not without its ageless qualities.” Their music is stripped down to its bare elements, their website says, in order to make it simpler to “perform on the streets of Boston.”

Ryan Montbleau’s latest album, “I Was Just Leaving,” marks a crossroads in the singer-songwriter’s life. Realizing after years of touring that there wasn’t much of a home left to come back to, he poured his heart and soul into the record. According to his website, Montbleau, who’s based in New England, says, “I thought all along that I had been building a home, but it turned out I was just leaving. That’s where the title of the song and the record came from. So many raw feelings were just aching through me at that point. Eventually they vibrated out through the guitar, through singing. I had to sing these songs.”


For more information and to purchase tickets, visit