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Friday
Nov232018

Merry Christmas to You, Now on iTunes!

Hello Music Lover!

'Tis the season for festive music! This year, I’m officially launching my song "Merry Christmas To You" as a downloadable single on:
and other fine online purveyors of music.

To celebrate, I’m also launching its official music video on YouTube:


A bit about this song: We recorded "Merry Christmas To You" back in the summer of 2012. It was really fun to record the song with some first rate musician friends: Ann Klein, Tomek Miernowski, and Dave Scalia.

I wanted to write a Christmas song that invoked the spirit of the holiday without it being too religious, so people of varying faiths might be able to relate to it, too. The song focuses on the generosity and playfulness of the season, giving a suggestion of magic or even miracles.

I’ve long wanted to create a music video featuring vintage cartoon animal imagery to communicate the energy of these warm community gatherings filled with peace, love, and harmony at Christmastime. But my search for an animator to convey this imagery kept hitting a dead end.

Then, my talented musician friend Johnny Jake posted online a few music videos that he had created. I asked if he might be able to help me with this project and he said yes! He was brilliant!

We hope you enjoy it and that you will share this friendly video with people in your family who may be entertained by its charm.

And just in time for the new video, Women of Substance Radio is featuring "Merry Christmas To You" on episode #888 (an auspicious number!) on Friday, November 30th.

Find the podcast on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/women-of-substance/id939201604?mt=2

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/show/3Z9JzNJeQVt1JKTl80xVy1

or YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_aSazCrGSruSEInYS-zdqQ

Finally, we are in the final stages of completing work on "New Road Home"! The album will be released in early 2019 on CD and digital.

We have chosen one track from the album to be released early.
The song, "Lady Liberty," holds a message of American history and current events, as perceived by Lady Liberty herself. This will be Johnny Jake’s second music video collaboration with my music. Hubby Mike got recruited to do some filming for the video, down in Battery Park! It’s a family affair.

Watch this space in December for "Lady Liberty"!

That’s it for now!
Sending many warm wishes of love and sweet times with those who are dear to you,
xxx,
Deborah
Wednesday
Oct312018

"Hard Times, Troubled Minds" Playlist on Spotify

Greetings Music Lover,

Maybe it is the changing season that has gotten me thinking about two things: how quickly time can sneak up on us and how easily our circumstances can change.

 

With that in mind, I have put together a Spotify playlist entitled "Hard Times, Troubled Mind" for your Halloween week!

Songwriters often write about difficult themes, probably because pretty much everyone can relate to songs like that. At some point, most everyone will have to face challenges and burdens that are too hard to bear alone.

The musicians who wrote, played, and sang the songs on "Hard Times, Troubled Mind" touch on some of life’s biggest challenges: lost love, divorce, homelessness, systemic poverty, addiction, family troubles. Their beautiful melodies, chord changes, and lyrics make even the most downtrodden message fill up our minds and hearts. Rather than leave us feeling overwhelmed and isolated, these songs somehow give room for empathy or insight or an encouraging reminder of not being alone.

The "Hard Times, Troubled Mind" playlist was also inspired by a troubled song I made up a few years ago, called, Bet on The Horses, which will be on my “New Road Home” record (release date early 2019). In the song, a desperate woman escapes a domestic dispute but ends up accidentally shooting her lover with the gun he was threatening her with. She knows it doesn’t look good. She knows that what she has done will not hold up well in a court of law but she did what she had to, to survive.

However small, along with the inevitable guilty verdict, this fictional murder ballad does offer the girl a glimmer of hope and for a short amount of remaining time, that glimmer of hope is her silver lining. That is where she can dwell; in the fast fleeting, present moment, where she can spend the afternoon at the racetrack with her dearest brother and bet on the gray. . .


I do hope you enjoy these songs. Please let me know what you think of the lineup.

Happy Halloween!

Be safe out there!
Love,
xxx,

Deborah
Monday
Oct082018

Changing Seasons, New Music!

Greetings Music Friends,

I have a little news to report from many parts of my musical life!

In Deborah Berg news - 

We are nearing completion of my brand spanking new solo record entitled New Road Home. This will be my third, following Places Where I Dream and No Rush

This collection of songs is a more pared down style, mostly live recording, very few overdubs, and I am playing all guitar parts.  I play mandolin on a couple of the songs as well.

I love my musician mates.  More details on all of them in a later post!

My illustrious producer, Ken Rich and I are mixing at Grand Street Studio throughout this month to have ready all the songs to be mastered.

On Friday, November 2nd I will meet with Greg Calbi from Sterling Sound to complete the process with my 10 new songs. From there, it’s on to the manufacturer to be made ready for an early 2019 release date. I toyed with the idea of pressing vinyl this time but after thoughtful consideration, I have decided back off that idea. Instead, we will offer digital downloads and those relics from the past, the CD. We are also working on creating simple music videos for your viewing pleasure on my Deborah Berg YouTube channel.

I am so looking forward to sharing these new songs with you in early 2019.

Watch this space!

In Teaching News-

In NYC, the Singin’ Seniors are at it again at Lenox Hill Senior Center. Our class is a lively, positive singing group of enthusiastic seniors, interested in singing big and having a good time. Some of our songs this session are:  Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Strangers in the Night, Hey Baby, and Try to Remember! A December 7th recital is in the books, which we will be sending a reminder out for anyone interested in coming down.

In Eye to Eye news-

Recently, Neta Weisman, a musician from Israel, let Julian and I know that he had recorded a cover version of our very first recorded single, Am I Normal?  He said he’s loved the song since he saw our live performance on the television show, Top Pop in Amsterdam back in 1980! His version features vocals by Elinor Fireman in a very faithful homage to my original vocal performance. Their recording is now out in the world, on Spotify and YouTube

Back to London, 1980, where it all began!

Recording Am I Normal? in London was a blast. We recorded the song at Basing Street Studios with Rhett Davies producing and Jon Kelly engineering. 

The players were Julian on keyboards, Gary Twigg on bass, Jeff Seopardie on drums, and of course, me singing lead vocals. No guitars or backing vocals on the song. 

So simple!

...Comes alive...Driving auto fast...Exhaust-a-vent...

...Loves to drive...Shifts away from that what’s got her pent...

We were between record companies (that sounds so awesome)--Automatic Records, our London record company, had recently passed our contract on to our United States record company, Warner Brothers.  We were about to move to L.A. to begin our first record with Gary Katz producing.

Of course, we now wish we had been taking numerous photographs of those awesome moments but alas, no one was snapping pics. We were just young musicians, working hard, trying to find the pocket and deliver the goods! We do remember going to Manna, a vegetarian restaurant in Primrose Hill in London after the recording. And guess what?  It’s still there!  All hail the longevity of vegetarians (or at least their restaurants)!

Enjoy the changing seasons, whether you experience them literally or figuratively!

Love,
xxx
Deborah

Friday
May182018

Blossoming Time

Greetings Music Friends,

Finally! After having survived an exceptionally long winter, the arrival of blooming flowers and blossoming trees is much appreciated. Except for raging tree pollen allergies, this spring weather is a welcome relief from winter’s blast!

One of the good things about our Atlantic Northeast winters is that the cold weather offers the best excuse to stay inside and write or practice! That said, it is so worth it to venture out for music and adventure. I have had some wonderful musical opportunities lately and wanted to share them with you.

Most recently, the Singin’ Seniors had their Spring recital on Friday, May 11th

The Singin’ Seniors are a group of well–elderly citizens who are members of The Lenox Hill Senior Center, located on the lower level of St. Peter’s Church at 3rd Ave and East 53rd Street. I teach a vocal ensemble class with the help of accompanist, Clare Cooper, through the support of Feel The Music, a non-profit organization founded by friend and fellow songwriter, Valerie Ghent. We offer three vocal ensemble sessions during the year and take the summer months off.

The Singin’ Seniors performed eight great songs on Friday, complete with harmonies, counter melodies, and a band! Marc Daine joined us on guitar, Steve Marks on bass, and Gary Fritz on percussion.

Here is the set list: Hello Mary Lou, A Kiss to Build a Dream On, You’re the Top, With A Little Help from My Friends, Teach Your Children, Dance Me To The End of Love, Everyday People, Dream a Little Dream of Me.

I am very proud of the Singin’ Seniors and wish them good health and a wonderful summer!

In February, over President’s Day weekend, I traveled to the Pacific Northwest for a fantastic PSGW winter music retreat.  Singing, writing and playing music with wonderful friends and fellow musicians filled our days, nights and wee hours. I had a blast!  And after music retreat, I finally made it to Wintergrass!  Wintergrass is a huge Bluegrass convention held annually in Bellevue, WA, where, besides hearing great performances of vital bluegrass musicians, I met and jammed with a group of fantastic women (including good buddy, Rachael Snyder) who are involved with the non-profit organization, The Handsome Ladies. This fabulous group is dedicated to bringing bluegrass music jams to a ladies-only playing population. They’ve got over 300 members across the country, and they host monthly Ladies’ jams in five different towns. Watch this space for info about a possible New York City area jam!

 

After the total immersion of music retreat, Mike flew to Seattle to meet me for a visit with my Berg family north of Seattle. That is always a special time. At the ripe old age of 97, my father, Darrel Berg, is hanging in there.  He’ll tell you, some days are better than others, but his attitude is unwavering. He is always so glad to have his family visit. We drink coffee in the morning and talk, talk, talk and read the paper and discuss various topics, his favorites are baseball teams from his childhood (1938 Chicago Cubs) the justice activism that I'm participating in, and updates on his McCarthy grandchildren (Dan is a first mate on a tugboat in the New York Harbor and Keenan is graduating from IYRS in Newport RI in two weeks)! He likes to say, “You gotta be good to be lucky”.  That motto seems to have carried him through life!  I ❤️ my Dad!

 

A Bunch of Bergs!, niece Ursula, me, Darrel and brother Bruce

 

Per usual, Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir has been very active this year and I have been busy singing and practicing civil rights with them!

In the beginning of 2018, on January 20th, we marched in NYC from 72nd and Central Park West to 6th Ave and 42nd Street, in the 2nd annual Women’s March, joining in solidarity with thousands of other State wide marches, to once again, support the rights of women; equal pay, fair wages, a woman’s right to choose, affordable health care, work based child care, affordable legal aid … and the list goes on. That was quite a day.  
 

Photo by Peter Calderon

On March 11, a group of us sang in front of one of Wendy’s corporate offices on Park Avenue to protest unfair wages and to offer support to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a worker-based human rights organization based in Florida. Dave, you should know better! Cheaply purchased, below-wage lettuce prices for your franchise is not worth a legal battle! Fair pay and better conditions for fair work hours and quota.

And again, on March 24, gospel choir sang and marched to support gun control awareness with a huge crowd of inter-generational Americans with March For Our Lives, organized by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida who were themselves victims of a brutal gun-toting rampage of a fellow student.  Among the songs we sang were Down By The Riverside, Give Peace a Chance, and Rich Man’s House.

 

On Easter, at Middle Church, I soloed on the beautiful gospel song, “The Storm is Passing Over.” Is there ever a time in our lives when we do not welcome an opening in the proverbial clouds to see the sun finally shine through? “Take courage, my soul, and let us journey on, though the night is dark and I am far from home” …

Photo by Patrick Mulcahy

I was not scheduled to sing the solo. I was not listed in the church bulletin. But at choir practice, director John del Cueto asked me to improvise at the end of the song. It was more a spontaneous improvisation than a solo— I couldn’t say exactly what was coming out of my mouth! But I felt a positive charge and a lot of good Easter energy coming through me as I improvised. To me it felt like the whole room was breathing.

The song starts around 30 minutes into the video at this link!

On April 16, I sang backup for the boldly talented Madge Dietrich in,“The Year of Madgical Thinking,” a benefit for Middle Church’s LGBTQ Ministry and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Youth. With musical director Drew Wutke on piano, Basssik on bass, Jeremy Price on Hammond organ, and John Del Cueto and I singing backing vocals.

In the club scene world, I had the pleasure of singing the lush harmonies of Monica Passin’s beautiful CD, “Monette” with Monica Passin and Sherryl Marshall twice—at both Cornelia Street Café off of Bleecker Street and also at the legendary Treehouse at 2A in the East Village. 

Also in April, girlfriend Sherryl Marshall and the Girleens (including me!) had a great time back at Tom Clark’s Treehouse at 2A. Sherryl’s songs are soulful and solid, groove-based and quirky and very fun to sing! With Elise Morris, Tricia Scotti, Stephanie Seymour and band mates, Charlie Giordano, Paul Pimsler, Lincoln Schleifer, and Fred Wolcott. What a hoot!

Photo by Jessy Dunn

I have booked some time in the recording studio this summer to record a few new tunes! In my opinion, recording is one of the most wonderful experiences a musician can have. It is quality time specifically set aside to work on and create the tone and mood and message of the song. Each songwriter has their own unique expression. Listening back to what was recorded is confirmation of who we are and what we do.  Chris Tedesco on violin, Richard Hammond on bass, and Charlie Giordano on accordion are joining me, on acoustic rhythm guitar, to find the groove and lay down basic tracks at Grand Street Recording in Williamsburg, with the fabulous Ken Rich producing.

I know, no drums.  What has happened to my rock and roll roots??

 

Portrait of Renie McFee, my new Goodall guitar!


More to come! Thanks for listening!

Love to you,
xxx
Deborah

Wednesday
Feb142018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, Dear Ones!

We have survived January’s five Mondays and two full moons and are now rocketing through February and beyond! Today I am heading out to the Pacific Northwest for a lovely, low key music retreat in the woods at the camp where PSGW holds its summer sessions. Afterwards I will be visiting my PNW Berg family, including Darrel, my 97-year-old Dad!

Sunday, January 28, was a very musical day. I sang with the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir as part of an evening called "Spiritual Sounds of the East Village," an annual evening of collective celebration amongst a radically diverse group of faith traditions. Over 12 different communities of faith joined this year! It’s always a profound event, and this year felt especially so. It was a great gift, to be received and encouraged to share your faith with others who are both like you and not like you but who somehow walk the same path. Good medicine for our divisive times.

After that, I hustled over to The Treehouse at 2A for The Field of Stars Great Harmony Swap: It’s A Musical! We covered some classics and some of the more obscure songs of musical theater that night. With the remote help of PSGW buddy, Alison Pollowitz, I worked out a bossanova arrangement of "On The Street Where You Live," and asked the legendary Fausto Bozza to solo with his beautiful jazz swing guitar. It was a wonderfully fun and eclectic night of music. I was so happy to share it with so many other colorful and talented local musicians!


This year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday service at Middle Collegiate Church was powerfully dynamic. Gospel Choir sang a protest song, arranged by our director, John del Cueto, called "Rich Man's House” with the refrain "Ain't gonna let the system walk all over me." We are here in solidarity, our voices of resistance will be heard. We the people will not be ignored. Elizabeth Stanley also sang solo on the beautiful devotional song, "My Help."

Ruby Sales spoke with Rev. Jacqui after the service at Art & Soul. She spoke about her vast experiences with civil rights, starting as a 17-year-old activist in the South in the 60s. She urges women to look beyond the existing glass ceiling of class and gender roles and build a whole new roof! Every minute of their talk is incredible; you can watch it here.

So that was January and half of February!

Along with singing in gospel choir, March will find me continuing to practice, write, and arrange songs on guitar and with my small but mighty trio, Chris Tedesco and Charlie Giordano.

My good buddy Sherryl Marshall and I will be singing backup for fellow NYC songwriter, Monica Passin at Cornelia Street Cafe to promote her newest CD, "Monette":

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Cornelia Street Cafe
8pm

________

Also on March 1st, the Singin’ Seniors will be starting up their spring 2018 session - our 13th together! I lead a vocal ensemble group with our illustrious piano accompanist, Clare Cooper. The Singin’ Seniors are a group of well-elderly senior citizens who are frequenters of The Lenox Hill Senior Center in midtown Manhattan at St. Peter’s Church. Through the non-profit organization, Feel The Music, classes are offered in vocal ensemble and hand drumming! Feel the Music’s director, Valerie Ghent, is a NYC musician herself and has made quite a stir in France with her new CD, "Velours."

Thank you for your interest in my corner of the world! I hope you are well. I love hearing from you!

Wishing you love and happiness!

Love,
xxx
Deborah