Richard Berman | Now and Then

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United States - Mass. - Western

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Folk: Gentle Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Solo Male Artist
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Now and Then

by Richard Berman

Award-winning singer/songwriter Richard Berman\'s newly released CD contains twelve lyric-driven songs embedded in outstanding musical arrangements performed by wonderfully talented musicians.
Genre: Folk: Gentle
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. There Is No Gold
2:54 album only
2. You, Me and Bobbie McGee
5:08 album only
3. Anna
3:13 album only
4. Momma Earth
3:16 album only
5. Go to England
3:41 album only
6. Molly
3:12 album only
7. Come Tomorrow
3:35 album only
8. Mister Guitar Player
4:01 album only
9. Blessings
3:32 album only
10. The Son Who Stayed at Home
3:37 album only
11. The Prodigal Son
3:10 album only
12. The Father\'s Story
5:01 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
\"This man has the gift.\" So said Utah Phillips, legendary figure in American folk music, after hearing Richard Berman sing at the Kerrville Folk Festival\'s Ballad Tree in 1992. And Richard has used that gift to write many songs that tell moving, true stories. \"Gil’s Song”, the song that prompted Utah Phillip\'s appraisal, is the tale of a Wyoming sheepherder\'s one brief attempt at closeness and its consequences. Humor, too, is part of Richard’s performance, as in “Monopoly”, his first-person account of the power of that game on behavior, and “The Kids Are Back”, his take on the latest stage in family development, both songs from Richard’s second CD, Love Work and Play. His third CD, Dreamer, included his first songs of requited love, “A Love Song” and “Here And Now” and the haunting “The Fortune Told”. Both Love, Work and Play and Dreamer were chosen “One of the Best Folk Albums” of 1996 and 1998, respectively, by Rich Warren, host of \"The Midnight Special\" on WFMT in Chicago, the longest continuously running folk radio show in the country. Richard’s Storied Lives won the 2001 Just Plain Folks Award for “Best Traditional Folk” CD. It includes the memorable, ironic story song “On the Mexican Coast”, a song featured on the compilation disks Artists for Change and Songs for a Better Planet, Vol.II. 2005 saw the release of Holding Hands which was chosen one of the “Top Ten Albums” of the year by Maggie Ferguson of WXOU and one the eleven “Essential CDs” of 2005 by Bill Hahn of WFDU.

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Reviews


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Larry Looney

songcraft at its best...
Any recording by Richard Berman that you might choose to experience will, without fail, yield well-crafted songs, honestly written from the heart and soul. Every range of human emotion can be found in his work – love, sadness, longing, pathos, humor, contemplation…and more. The lyrics and melodies are incredibly memorable, staying with the listener long after the CD is over – the songs touch on the deepest level, and the subjects they touch upon cry out for further exploration within. I’ve been a fan of Richard’s work for many years – I’ve fortunate to hear him in person several times, and the experience found on his recordings is even deeper in that setting. He can write a love song that will absolutely squeeze your heart – usually not the sort filled with a plaintive longing, but the ones that come from a life-filling, life-long love that has been found, cherished and nourished with dedication and devotion, through smiles as well as tears.

‘There is no gold’, which starts the set, is one of those love songs – Richard sings, ‘There is no gold in your hair, there is no silver on your tongue, no diamonds sparkle ’round your neck – all that glitters you have shunned…It’s said that all good things must end – well I don’t believe that’s true, I believe all good things must change, and I think I’ll change with you.’ There are few songwriters working today that can capture the soul of belonging, the feeling of being a couple, that Richard’s lovesongs can embody.

‘You, me and Bobbie McGee’ employs the famous Kris Kristofferson song as the trigger bringing back a pleasant recollection of a trip with a former lover – snippets of the original song’s lyrics are masterfully inserted into the song, woven into a musical tapestry of memories. It’s a blessing and a gift to recall old loves with such gentle thoughts and wishes as Richard expresses in this song. ‘Anna’ is a song written by Richard many years ago, resurrected at the request of his daughter, and has become a welcome staple of his live performances. The imagery is both delicate and vividly evocative: ‘Often in the afternoon, Anna writes songs in her room – as private as the virgin’s womb, they tell a tale of longing.’

‘Momma Earth’ is both a lament for the passing of time and a celebration for the life we are gifted, and the changes that time brings. Within its gentle verses you’ll find sweet memories of youth, a plea for Father Time to slow his pace, and the plea of the inner child: ‘There is a child inside of me, he lives just behind most memories. He speaks, his voice is weak, grown fainter over time –
“Oh don’t forget me,” he will say, “don’t live out an endless string of days the same, so safe and sane. Go out and take a leap, you’ll end up on your feet”.’ How much good advice all of our inner children could give us, if only we could listen more closely to them!

Perhaps the most ambitious – and effective – works on the album are the three songs that make up ‘The prodigal son trilogy’ that end the set. Richard has taken the well-worn (but instructive) story, looking at it from the perspective of the three main characters – ‘The son who stayed at home’, ‘The prodigal son’ and ‘The father’s story’. The son who remained, working on his father’s land, struggles to understand the joy and celebration heaped up his returning sibling – ‘Yes, my brother’s back, as from the dead – my world’s been torn apart, for though I’ll be left my father’s things, my brother has his heart.’ In ‘The prodigal son’, the one who returns is filled with shame and guilt – when his father calls him before him and asks what he has learned from the places he has gone since leaving home, the son bows his head, his thoughts dark, pouring over all of the foolish things he has done, finally replying, in a trembling voice, ‘Father, I’ve learned to treasure in life those precious few who care’. The father rises to embrace his re-found child – ‘My father stood up from his chair and gripped me in a hug – I felt a tear run down my cheek, unsure of whose it was…I could feel how blessed I was to be my father’s son’. The father’s song is a mixture of joy and sorrow, gratitude and regrets – he is overjoyed at the return of his wandering child, but feels guilty when he sees the resentment in the eyes of the son who stayed. He struggles to balance it all, understanding his own failings as well as the love he feels for both of his sons – ‘I think we can be happy in this world in which we’ll dwell, if we can love and forgive each other and ourselves.’

And that’s a lesson we would all do well to consider.

Richard is considered by many of his fans to be one of those famously described ‘well-kept secrets’ on the singer-songwriter circuit. It’s time for that secret to be made common knowledge – he’s absolutely one of the finest songcrafters working today. If you’ve never heard him, start here – this is one of his best recordings, with superb musicianship framing his songworks perfectly. From here, get everything you can find by him – and by all means, go and see him perform.
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Jana James

Such wonderful songwriting
The man really knows and understands the workings of a well crafted song.
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