MP3 Pete Berwick - Only Bleeding
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10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Rockabilly, ROCK: Roots Rock
Rating: *** Submitted: 29/04/2002
Reviewer: Tony Engelhart
At first listen it is unclear how to categorize Pete Berwick. After a couple of times you become accustom to and even welcome the inconsistencies of this diverse disc. The all-embracing Berwick has been compared to Johnny Cash meets the Ramones. Perhaps a better description, at least for this recording, would be: The New York Dolls meet the Ramones meets Waylon Jennings meets Woody Guthrie. Convergence of rock, country, punk, and folk, Only Bleeding is an assortment of extremely deep-rooted American music.
For the past twenty-four years Pete Berwick has been writing and performing music on his terms. Beginning in the seventies, he was founder and frontman of the power-pop punk act THE GENERICS. The band blazed through Chicago clubs with intense, sweat soaked sets until the early eighties. The Berwick/Generics original composition 'There She Goes Again' was suspiciously stolen by, and turned into a hit and timeless classic for alternative rockers, THE BOO RADLEYS. By the mid-eighties Berwick turned his attention to country punk and released two acclaimed independent records, Six Pack Town and Decisions. Pete continued in the nineties by moving to Nashville and working as a staff songwriter for Kingbird Publishing. His need to sing and perform landed him a recording contract at Bitter Creek Records where he recorded Rebels and Cadillacs. While the album was never released, the single, 'Aint' No Train Outta' Nashville' was featured in the 1993 River Phoenix film, The Thing Called Love.
Lyrically Only Bleeding suggests hard livin', honkytonks, and lost love. Pete Berwick's Jack Daniels soaked vocals are raw and rough-edged, as he sings songs from a discerning and familiar point of view. Only Bleeding begins with a bit of Punk. 'Must Think She Loves Me' immediately reveals Berwick's' affinity for simplistic three-chord rock. Joined by singer/wife Denise, 'Nuclear Boy' and 'Gotta Get Out Of Here' both have an X-like ambiance (tough and passionate). The metaphoric title track opens with a wailing harmonica and acoustic guitar that is reminiscent to Bruce Springsteen's classic "Backstreets". With departed love and isolation as a theme, this track is lyrically poignant and musically uncomplicated. Drawing from his cow-punk past, the artist constructs a straight-up country ballad 'Cold Steel Gun' while 'Standing At The Gates of Hell' has a Southern Rock attitude complete with steel guitar accompaniments.
The self-produced Only Bleeding is contrasting to nearly all music being released these days simply because it is impossible to categorize. Pete Berwick weaves his early punk influences with contemporary and traditional styles to create a musical mosaic, which is diverse, yet comprehensive and extremely individual.
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