“Wishing Well” a new video for Sante Fe-based singer, songwriter and author, David Berkeley premieres today. It features over 900 watercolor paintings by Chicago artist, Anne Beal and is a fitting medium to flesh out Berkeley’s songwriting which in the past, has been described as akin to watercolor paintings.
The sweet tumbling, banjo-led single is off Berkeley’s excellent sixth album, Cardboard Boat which was released in September with an accompanying novella, “The Free Brontosaurus”. The song is a companion piece to the book’s story “Building A Bridge”- about a character reeling from a broken marriage who finds the routine of watching workmen fashion a new bridge, ultimately leads him to building new ones.
Currently on tour to promote the album and book, Berkeley will play the Bay Area’s Freight & Salvage tonight before heading south to Austin, Nashville and Albuquerque. He has also recently added a final bookstore date in Corte Madera on Dec 11 at Book Passage.
The troubadour is clearly relishing playing bookstores and even libraries as much as the concert stage. He performed in downtown LA’s The Last Bookstore last Thursday and it was an intimate treat for his fans, the unsuspecting book browser and the occasional homeless wanderer who cozied up on the warm armchair next to the stage. Like a cast of characters from his book.
Between shelves of Thomas Hardy and WH Auden, Berkeley read passages from “The Free Brontosaurus” and strummed his acoustic on songs such as “Wishing Well”, “Dinosaurs and Sages”, “Broken Crown” and “Setting Sail” – joined by Jordan Katz on banjo and Bill Titus on electric guitar.
Katz who also played the trumpet was mesmerizing on “Setting Sail” where the brass was majestic yet measured while Berkeley’s deep, soaring baritone was nicely balanced with Titus’ shimmering guitar.
If you have a favorite, be prepared to shout it out when he offers the opportunity, as he surely will. “Cardboard Boat” and “Colored Birds” from the album won’t disappoint. In fact the title track is almost transcendent in its ability to take you somewhere familiar and back again with a chorus like “Please, leave the ladder down so I can find my way back to you. Leave the light on. For me.”. Every lover, every yearning, every missed opportunity resonates and ever the more beautifully on the album which features Sara Watkins’ guest vocals.
These two songs weren’t on the set list for the night and a lifetime of being told to hush whilst in the company of books, could not prompt me to raise my whisper. Don’t you make the same mistake!
Berkeley excels at crafting songs that can act as touchstones equally for fleeting moments as they do the more labored experiences. Often these require the prism of reflection and sometimes a paring with a guitar or three, for us to pause and properly acknowledge their significance before we take flight again. It provides even if temporarily, some kind of cure.
For tickets to Berkeley’s show at The Freight & Salvage, please click here. Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm. Portland’s Anna Tivel is the opening act. To purchase the album, Cardboard Boat and novella, please click here.
David Berkeley Tour Dates
Nov 10 – Berkeley, CA – Freight & Salvage
Nov 11 – Austin, TX – Rock Room
Nov 12 – Austin, TX – Open Ears
Nov 13 – Fischer, TX – Fischer Fest
Nov 21 – Amarillo, TX – High Plains Public Radio Concert Series
Nov 22 – Lubbock, TX – Rockin’ Box 33
Dec 3 – Nashville, TN – The Family Wash
Dec 4 – Memphis, TN – Memphis House Concerts
Dec 5 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
Dec 6 – Birmingham, AL – Moonlight on the Mountain
Dec 8 – Albuquerque, NM – Cherry Hills Library
Dec 9 – Albuquerque, NM – Los Griegos Library
Dec 11 – Corte Madera, CA – Book Passage