derek lee bronston
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derek lee bronston

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Country


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Sweden 2007"

Many people seem to hear a call in these times of alt/country, but all of them are ceirtainly not among the chosen few. But this later day successor to Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and Steve Young really belongs to the chosen ones. "Empty River" is a wonderful record that gets to you immediately. With a bunch of well-written tunes - and a tender rendition of the above mentioned Van zandt - and a warm and slightly raspy voice, he's ready to take the world by surpruse.

MAGNUS SUNDELL - Trots Allt Magazine 4/07 - Trots Allt

"Music Spectrum / July 07"

Derek Lee Bronston’s Empty River might’ve passed by as simply another guitar-toting, singer/songwriter’s CD recorded just to have something at the merch table after hotel lounge sets. It might’ve been that—if almost every one of Bronston’s songs weren’t so deeply resonant as to produce striking impressions.

“What is Wrong” is a bluesy, acoustic country song just kicking it on the porch with a weathered barhall piano rolled outside. Melissa Greener’s background vocals are right out of Emmylou Harris land where harmony can make you fall in love. “That’s Alright” is stripped back to closing time or maybe even later when the chairs are up on the table.

With its little hesitation step, “Woman Like You” has hints of the Silos. For “Waiting,” Bronston taps into a mournful New Bluegrass like Thomas Denver Johnson with a stronger lyric delivery that comes at a faster cadence than the slide guitar would suggest.

“Rainy Days” is a countrified hard rock song of slamming intensity slowed down and cut back for a late night, the liquor’s all gone, the party’s all done, the energy’s just about drained by the passion—that’s still smoldering. Like Greg Brown, Bronston finds a bluesy country folk song in “Weighed Down” while letting some faint echoes of Classic Rock hang out on the edges. “All I Need” is an acoustic picker that finds Bob Dylan staring into the melancholy of U2’s “All I Want is You” and “Van Diemen’s Land.” - Benjamin C. Squires

"Empty River Review"

If someone asked you to cite some influences on Derek Lee Bronston, you'd likely come up with names like the Texan country-folk singer-songwriters Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, or maybe even the New Yorker Steve Forbert, whose smoky voice Bronston's often resembles. The last thing you'd probably imagine is that this is the same Derek Bronston who started out playing rock before graduating to downtown-style avant jazz in NYC, working with the likes of Cecil Taylor and as the leader of his own jazz band, with a couple of previous albums under his belt in that style. There is little evidence of Bronston's jazz past on Empty River: the crisp guitar lines that populate these songs, though sometimes expansive and intricate, display no tendencies to break out and explore the outer limits, Bronston's voice is distinctly non-urban, and his compositions are succinctly structured affairs that make their point without wandering. They're good songs too, honest and vivid, evocative and emotional. Bronston, who plays Dobro, harmonica and bass in addition to the guitars, is a careful and choosy song-craftsman. Both his words and music are devoid of waste and make maximum use of what's at his disposal, whether with his full band (vocalistMelissa Greener is a find) or on his own, as in the stark "No Place To Fall" (written by Van Zandt) and "All I Need." Whether Bronston will stick with this genre now that he's found it is anyone's guess, but if he does, he can go further in knowing that it suits him well. - All Music dot Com /by Jeff Tamarkin

"Il Popolo del Blues / Italy 2008"

Derek Lee Bronston is a talented musician and songwriter. His debut album, Empty River is an incredibly good album where he carries the legacy from Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle in a terrific way.

Derek Lee Bronston è un apprezzato chitarrista jazz, noto nella scena musicale di New York per il suo particolare sound ottenuto con il fuzzbox e per due eccellenti album strumentali usciti come Derek Bronston Group (Longing del 1998 e Ebb del 2001). Qualche anno fa però nella sua vita è entrata la musica di Guy Clark, e così ha deciso di reinventarsi cantautore, e Empty River è il suo album di debutto in questa nuova veste. Presentato recentemente in una serata di gala con ospiti come Willie Nelson e Bill Frisell, il disco non tradisce le aspettative rivelando un piacevole sound acustico e una voce tagliente che tocca vertici di grande espressività. Nei ventinove minuti del disco, incontriamo oltre agli otto brani autografi anche una bella rilettura di No Place To Fall, una delle canzoni più profonde e toccanti di Townes Van Zandt. E’ proprio questo brano ad essere il perno del disco, intorno al quale si muovono ballate dai toni sofferti come Weighed Down e You Thrill Me ma anche divagazioni nel folk con That’s Alright e spruzzi di canzone d’autore con la splendida Woman Like You. E’ però con la soffusa Rainy Days che si tocca il vertice del disco in una intreccio di semplicità lirica e spaccati acustici di ottima fattura. Seppur abbastanza breve e un po’ derivativo in alcuni suoni, Empty River, è sicuramente una bella sopresa che piacerà certamente a tutti coloro che amano il sound americana.
- Il Popolo del Blues

"They like him, they really like him"

They like him, they really like him
Published: March 29. 2007 7:00AM

'I've been in some weird bands,' Derek Lee Bronston admits. 'I've never done something that this many people liked.'

When Americana artist Derek Lee Bronston read what Performing Songwriter wrote about him, he darn-near blushed. He "growls and moans like a male Lucinda Williams," the magazine wrote.

Praise could not get any loftier than that, he says.

"That's about the nicest thing you can say to me," said Bronston, a Detroit native who'll perform Friday at Eclectic Etceteras in Edinboro.

"I love Lucinda Williams. I have every single Lucinda Williams record, and I listen to her all the time. As far as that quote goes, if that was true, that'd be great."

On "Empty River," he does veer into an occasional Lucinda-like drawl. He adopts her trademark halting / hesitant phrasing, too. But other influences abound: Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, and Townes Van Zandt, whom he covers in "No Place to Fall."

It's a low-key, hushed, intimate, occasionally gorgeous CD, filled with evocative, open-hearted songs. It's also a far cry from the post-punk rock he played in New York's Great Shakes, or the jazz he favored for years, playing sideman with Cecil Taylor and Tom Harrell.

"I have pretty wide musical tastes," Bronston said. "I love Motown, and there's a lot of great jazz in Detroit. In fact, when I moved to New York, really my eyes were set on playing jazz. And I played jazz for 10 years. I feel like now I'm kind of going back to something that I liked. I came back to playing songs, basically."

Bronston sprang forward by getting over his reluctance for singing. With other bands, he was content to play guitar. Now he feels the best person to express his music is Derek Lee Bronston.

"I was too shy to sing. I just got over it," he said. "The comment I get from a lot of friends is this seems to be the most natural thing I've ever done. To some, it seems like a big shift from playing in rock and jazz bands, but it seems like a natural progression for me."

Producer Dennis Martin helped him craft an organic, languid CD that benefits from occasional splashes of dobro, pedal steel, piano, organ, and female backing vocals. But they're employed judiciously; the CD breathes. There's not a false note nor made-up story on it.

"Quite a few songs are based on my girlfriend," Bronston said. 'Some people think it's a sad record, but I think a lot of it is actually happy -- 'You Thrill Me,' 'Woman Like You,' 'All I Need.' I'm not hugely like Dylan, who writes about other characters. I haven't done a lot of writing about fictionalized characters, though I've been starting to think about stories that are diary entries."

Americana stations have embraced "Empty River," and so have a few country ones. He knows this isn't the type of music that'll ever hit Top 40 but could care less. He's singing and playing what he wants, and to his surprise, people are responding.

"To be honest, I have never done something that this many people liked," he said. "I'm just getting a really nice response. People seem to like the record. I'm sure someone doesn't, but I've been in some weird bands over the years, eclectic ones that were not mass appeal. Getting a nice response is kind of heartening."

Derek Lee Bronston will perform Friday at 5 p.m. at Eclectic Etceteras, 118 Erie St., in Edinboro. Admission is free. For more information, see /

Dave Richards can be reached at 870-1703 or by e-mail at dave.richards@ - DAVE RICHARDS - Erie News Times

"Ctrl Alt Country REVIEW / ENGLISH"

What a debut Derek Lee Bronston has with this calling card. What most new comers couldn't dream of. What the Detroit born singer-songwriter put together on "Empty River" is an immediate soulful bursting of lyrics, which manifests his preference for the great contemporaries of this genre of music like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons or more recently a Ryan Adams.

More or less introspective songs, reminiscent of Americana and the style. The eye catching cover of Townes van Zandt "No Place to Fall", is that good. Simply recorded with one microphone in a hall. Is this is the best take on the CD, that can be argued? What really concerns us is that you pay attention to the enthralling "Waiting", "Woman Like You" distantly reminiscent of the Jayhawks ", the through your bones " Rainy Days", the special love song "All I Need", the acoustic version of "That is Alright" or the wonderful opening with "What Is Wrong".

In these songs Bronston is at his best. We mean the arrival of a great
thunderstorm of talent. As a vocalist, songwriter and musician (guitars, dobro, electric bass, harmonica) he is a man we will have to take into account in the future.
- Ctrl Alt Country

"Roots Time / ENGLISH"

Guitarist & singer-songwriter Derek Lee Bronston has built up an impressive CV in his young life. He was raised in Detroit where he at age 11 started playing the guitar and moved later to New York.
He started in rock bands, moved to jazz (Tom Harrell, Cecil Taylor) and punk in New York City.
Now he found the time do his own CD, as a singer songwriter, and a darn good one.

Mr Bronston is blessed with an easy writing style and a voice of a young Steve Earle. Mr Bronston handles the guitars, dobro, electric bass and harmonica himself.
His debut CD " Empty River", produced by Dennis Martin (Mark Anthony Jones, Melody)
Reveals itself with the first track " What is Wrong " as a top Americana album. The influences of Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Gram Parsons are never at a distance.
He like the mentioned giants has the right songs and voice to create the mood.

Through hypnotic accompaniment Bronston laments a soul surging presentation of 8 compositions and a cover by Townes Van Zandts " No Place to Fall" which makes it a complete work.
He is able to captivate me with the sensitive " Rainy Days”, the love song “All I Need” and the acoustic version of "That's Alright".
With every listening of the CD we gain a better understanding and the realization grows that " Empty River" fits in this particular genre as one of the better CD's in the last couple of months.
Derek Bronston delivers his alt-country with deep feelings, tastefulness and integrity, "Empty River" is very well packaged and produced, in short an excellent product.

"Hanx Review/ENGLISH"

Steve Earle, I know it well he makes things more exciting than reality.He goes in whispering, a little panting, moaning and then groaning, Derek Lee Bronston does this too.
I have the impression that he immitates Earle a little bit, not a problem when the person you immitate is very good.

Earl is good and we all know that, but Bronston also does it very well.
He is economical in his arrangements. Empty River sounds acoustic but it isn’t. It’s not real sparse but he puts excitement in his compositions by keeping them simple. Thus the few notes on the electric guitar during “You thrill me” gives it a special touch.
Bronston plays 8 compositions together with the cover “No Place to Fall” by Townes van Zandt. He shows that there is no dispute whose influenced him.
Bronston originally from Detroit played Jazz, Rock and Punk in New York City and now as a singer-songwriter he’s at a place where we all want to be.

"Performing Songwriter"

May, 2007

Carefree country meets tortured soul on Derek Lee Bronston’s Empty River. “What Is Wrong” kicks things off with Bronston bemoaning his actions: “What is wrong with me, I treat you like I do / What is wrong with me, I leave you feeling so blue.” A slow drumbeat, mournful slide guitar and harmonica complete the desolate picture.
The consolatory “That’s Alright” picks up the mood, and Bronston bares all to his soulmate on “Woman Like You.” “We walk alone, and I need you / We make one from two,” Bronston growls and moans like a male Lucinda Williams. There’s even a starkly beautiful cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “No Place to Fall” which fits the mood of the record perfectly. Got an empty space on your CD shelf? Let Empty River fill it. - Mare Wakefield


Selected discography:
Derek Lee Bronston - Empty River
The Key Party - Hot or Miss
The Great Shakes - Americana BeBop
Mostley - The Myth of Greener Grass
Mostley - Vague
The Derek Bronston Group - Longing
The Derek Bronston Group - Ebb
The Hush - Human
The Hush - Faith
Lauren Stauber - Solar Heart
FBI - Internal Affairs
Gawk - 1

Felicity - the WB (television - season finale)
Spike TV - X Games Film Festival
The World Bank - promotional video
Night and Day - feature film
Blood Kiss - Feature Film



Singer songwriter Derek Lee Bronston's soulful brand of country infused Americana finds its way into your heart and soul via strong melodies, swinging groove and bluesy nuance. While his discography ranges from punk rock to jazz his debut "Empty River", released Jan.17.2007 by Paved Earth Music brings out Derek Lee's true nature and a return to his roots.

Empty River has been embraced by Americana, Country and Roots radio charting for over 10 weeks on the AMA charts hitting #17 on the Roots Music Report and even getting airplay on Knoxville’s WIVX one of America’s premier commercial Country Music stations.

After migrating from the Midwest to New York City in the 90's Derek Lee toured, recorded and performed with people ranging from Jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell and pianist Cecil Taylor to rockers The Great Shakes and The Hush.

The debut CD from Derek Lee, which includes both solo and full band tracks, features his talents both as a songwriter and a musician. He is joined by Austin based singer Melissa Greener, and a host of NYC luminaries that bring soul, groove and beauty to his songs.