David Berkeley “George Square”

By Brad Reno on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011  |  3,087 views

Alt-Folk

David Berkeley “George Square” David Berkeley “George Square”

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The singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar is probably the most primal form of pop music – anything beyond that is embellishment. But if it it’s the most basic form of music, it’s also one of the trickiest to pull off well – the line between what is simple and powerful and what is sentimental and maudlin is a thin one. On the surface, songs like the beloved “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice and the reviled “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt might sound similar, but in their depths they are worlds apart.

On “George Square,” New Jersey musician and poet David Berkeley lands firmly in the Rice camp. Superficially, there’s not much that separates the song from thousands of “longing for my lover” songs by thousands of sensitive singer-songwriters, but Berkeley manages to nail the right alchemy in his combination of imagery, melody, and arrangement to make “George Square” a keeper. It could have been cloying and mawkish but Berkeley makes it heartfelt and moving, adorning his song with just enough instrumentation to enhance the mood but not enough to mask the simple acoustic performance at its core.

Sometimes the simplest approaches to art are the most dangerous to attempt. An acoustic troubadour can’t hide behind layers of feedback and sonic trickery – if his songwriting is deficient, he’s got no place to hide. Like Damien Rice, Ron Sexsmith, Josh Ritter, and David Gray at his best, David Berkeley has the talent to withstand the scrutiny.

“George Square” is the lead track on Berkeley’s self-released new album, Some Kind of Cure.

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Rate It Here:  My ears, they bleed!Never againMehNot my thangOne listen is enoughGood, not greatWorth a listenPlaylist-worthyThis my jam!Songasm!!! (65 votes, average: 8.71 out of 10)

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Luke Says:

    You nailed the distinction between the cheap folk camp (those who unplug their guitars and think that will automatically turns what comes out of them into musical poetry) and those with a genuine desire to acheive the minimalist that GOOD folk radiates… Berkeley, like you say, does it excellently.

  2. browneheather Says:

    thanks for this one Danny.

  3. browneheather Says:

    i mean Brad 😉

  4. One Track Mind Says:

    That’s okay–it’s a team effort. : )

  5. Alexa Says:

    Excellent desciption of an excellent song.

  6. miggs Says:

    New Jersey was thinly represented in this season of American Idol, so I must ask: did he try out? He surely would have made it to Hollywood. I mean this with all love.

  7. Gene Pool Says:

    What a soothing, beautiful voice and evocative lyrics. This song spurred me to find more of Berkeley’s music, and I love what I found!

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