"In other part, it was that he so much loved good music of many different styles. In addition to his work as a producer and songwriter, he had an extraordinary record collection. He had the highest level collection of blues 78s. He also had an immense collection of LPs and 45s which included deep archives of country, blues, jazz, reggae, gospel and cajun music. He spent a lot of time listening to those records and it gave him a great foundation as a producer and songwriter," Sloven added.
HighTone got off to a strong start with its initial release, the Robert Cray Band's album Bad Influence featuring the song PHONE BOOTH. Produced by Bromberg and Dennis Walker, the album received airplay on Album-Oriented Radio, blues stations, and college radio. "After quite a few years producing records, it was very exciting to have one get a lot attention and actually sell," Bromberg told writer Lee Hildebrand for the liner notes of American Music: The HighTone Records Story, a box set released in 2006.
HighTone built on that foundation in 1986 with Cray's Strong Persuader album, produced again by Bromberg and Walker. The LP sold more than a million copies and reached No. 13 on Billboard's Top 200 albums. SMOKING GUN, a single co-written by Bromberg under the alias David Amy, reached No. 22 on the singles charts.
Sloven offered an analysis of Bromberg's production skills. "One of Bruce's strongest points as a producer, in my opinion, was that he acted as a conduit for the artists he worked with to achieve their best, not to mold them in his own image," he noted. "It was interesting to me to observe him working in the studio, gently guiding artists, not confronting or badgering. He avoided confrontation and that worked to his advantage in getting results."
In a 1993 interview with Mike Boehm of The Los Angeles Times, Dave Alvin spoke of working with Bromberg, who co-produced Blue Blvd and Museum of Heart and co-wrote two songs with Dave on the latter album (THIRTY DOLLAR ROOM and DEVIL'S WIND).
"Bruce has produced everyone from Lightning Hopkins to Robert Cray. He's done so many blues albums, he could say, 'I've heard that [solo] before; you can do better.' He was pushing me on Blue Blvd and Museum of Heart to play more guitar, and he kind of got the performances out of me," Dave recalled. "It's not just [a matter of] practice and playing gigs. It's finding your own voice and not being afraid to try things."