Although the poetic-looking thirty-something’s first two albums were separate entitles, David Bronson prefers to think of them as one (more on that later). The title of the first record in 2012 was Story, the title of the second, The Long Lost, so together, of course, they are ‘The Long Lost Story.’
These first two releases were nearly a decade in the making, whereas album number three, the intriguingly-titled Questions, wasn’t. The reflective singer-songwriter, who cites Emmylou Harris and Peter Gabriel as two of his biggest musical influences, spoke to me from New York City.
“Well I like to be, I guess, somewhat literal,” says David, explaining where the title of the new album, an album that has always released one single: the gorgeous “Songbird,” came from. “I think I look at my whole output, so to speak, as very much a document. It’s all highly autobiographical stuff.
“And it just seemed like there are questions in almost every song, either actual questions that I’m posing to myself or to the universe, or different issues that are essentially questions that I was wrestling with over the course of the writing. So I said, ‘It almost seems silly to me to call it anything else.'”
Critics in America and the UK have, understandably, been lining up to sing Bronson’s praises. “It would seem David Bronson has soaked up all the best parts of ’70s rock and created his own vibe, which feels surprisingly new,” wrote Magnet magazine in 2012, while Mojo recently suggested that Questions was heavily influenced by David Bowie‘s 1975 LP Young Americans. What is Mr. Bronson’s take on that?
“Yeah, to a degree,” he replies. “Where that kinda came from was that I had this very clear idea with respect to background vocals… I wanted kind of the rich, soulful background vocals on this to be a major arrangement element, so I said that to Godfrey Diamond, who produced the record with me.
“He basically, through contacts he has worked with in the past, got us in touch with Gordon Grody and through Gordon, Robin Clark, who was actually one of the original vocalists, along with Luther Vandross, on the Young Americans record.
“Godfrey and both of those singers had actually worked together quite a bit in the past, so once that connection was made it sort of all fell into place, musically and chemistry-wise, etc.”
David Bronson must have already made quite an impression within the musician community, as not only did he work with the top industry names listed above, he also managed to secure the services of former David Bowie guitarist, Carlos Alomar.
“Yeah, that was pure luck,” he says, clearly grateful that such a talented sideman was on hand to help out, “because Carlos and Robin happen to be married, and Carlos drove Robin and Gordon to the first session. He came in and we just hit it off. He then said, ‘Sure, I’ll play on the record.’ He believed in the music.”
Comparing his previous records with his current one, David states, “I kind of look at The Long Lost Story, which is the first two albums, as a document of my 20s, so this record, to me, is really much more about what my 30s have been about.
“Being that it took about a decade to actually get those first two albums made, I look at them as one project. I released them as two separate albums, but they are one double album, in truth. By the time they came out, it felt like a photograph of my ancient history.
“So for a long time, I was very keen on getting something that was true to my current life out, and to me, that’s what this album is. I have another album fully written that I’m dying to go in and record – more than one, actually. But there’s a process to the whole thing…”
In print, I’ve seen the pensive troubadour, who describes his sound as “human,” compared to a number of legendary artists from the past, George Harrison and Neil Young among them, but this man has his own style and is definitely not a retro act.
“Thank you for saying that – I hope you guys will print that as well!” laughs David. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m hugely flattered to be compared to the people that they compare me with.
“It’s fantastic and I love all those artists – those are among my favourite artists. Neil Young… and a lot of the names they throw around from the ’70s. Cat Stevens… I’ve read Bob Dylan, which obviously is a huge compliment.
“That’s great, but at the same time, I’m living now. I’m creating music now and I’m creating what comes natural to me.”
Questions is out now in the US and next week in the UK.
For more information, visit David Bronson’s official website.