“Better late than never, so they say...” says 48 year old Northern Illinois native Pete Berwick, when asked why he’s decided to release a new album after a self imposed five year sabbatical. Truth be known, Berwick’s been ‘on the verge’ for his entire career and now with the release of “Ain’t No Train Outta Nashville,” he's poised for a hard earned breakthough.
Pete Berwick’s songs are whiskey-soaked, ragged and weathered, with a mix of hardcore heartbreak and rock-edged attitude that dares to go unnoticed. Berwick’s been making music for three decades, and the trials and tribulations bleed through in his latest album which serves as a soundtrack to his life story. He believes that now is the time for his music to finally reach a larger audience. “My goal as a songwriter has always been to reach the listener emotionally" says Berwick.
One reviewer refers to the renegade sound as akin to “Steve Earle on crack” and that isn’t far off the mark. The songs are poignant with the perspective depth that comes only from living the words first. The vocals are raw, edgy with a distinctiveness that’s been missing from radio airwaves for many years. The music is urgent and rebellious, not much unlike the man himself.
Berwick’s been in it long enough to know that the only thing that comes easy in this business are the hard knocks and tough breaks. He’s battled through and survived more than his fair share of them.
Beginning in 1981 as the founder and frontman of the Chicago cult favorites “The Generics” he found his way to college radio with the band’s two year, high octane run, playing hundreds of dates throughout the Midwest. In 1983 - 1986 he found himself as a guitarist for the punk/metal band “The End” and then in 1986 he took a solid mix of all of his roots based musical influences, from rock and blues to punk and country and the result was “Pete Berwick and Interstate”. The resulting cowpunk sound sizzled and caught fire quickly as the band toured heavily. During this timeframe Pete released two self produced records. One of the projects, “Decisions” was an accumulation of ten years of songwriting and ranked second of all 1987 indie releases by Illinois Entertainer magazine.
With momentum and hope on his side he followed his dreams on a road that took him to Nashville in 1990 where he wasted no time in securing a record and songwriting deal with Bitter Creek Records. While churning out songs during the day, Berwick was soon heating up stages at night in Nashville and throughout the south, opening up shows for legendary artists such as Charlie Daniels, Joe Sun, Doug Kershaw and Red Steagall.
In 1993 Berwick went back into the studio and recorded what would eventually be “Ain’t No Train Outta Nashville." Bankrupcy with the record company forced the album to be shelved and Berwick moved on to other projects, including an EP with Steve Earle/Billy Joe Shaver drummer Craig Wright. Berwick also made cameo appearances in several country music videos, and appeared on a commercial for Monday Night football with Hank Williams Junior.
In 1996, after over 15 years of non-stop performing, recording and writing, Berwick made the decision to relocate back to his hometown of Chicago. There he started an entertainment and publishing company and record label and in 2002 he recorded and released "Only Bleeding" on his label Shotgun Records. The album is a hard rocking yet haunting collection of real life tales of hard living, addiction, self destructive renegades and salvation,which received rave reviews.
Berwick gathered local music veterans Rick Devries, Nick Verbic and Rob Surrey and assembled the roadhouse rockin' band “Pete Berwick and the Renegades” in 2002 and has since put hundreds of live performances under his belt touring the Midwest ceaselessly in support of "Only Bleeding." The album was and remains a critic’s favorite, garnering a top ten of best indie releases in 2002 by renowned music critic Reverend Keith A Gordon, and the album also received top ten indie release honors by Tom Lounges of The Northwest Indiana Herald and Midwest Beat Magazine. The title track which also appears on his new album currently maintains in the top ten on the Americana charts for over a year on garageband.com, while the album’s opening track “Must Think She Loves Me” was featured in the cult movie ‘Townies’.
Fast forward to 2007. Pete Berwick's Nashville recording “Ain’t No Train Outta Nashville” is being released to Americana and Roots-Rock radio. The album is a rollicking and sauntering country-rock/Americana collection of hard lived songs, which includes the title track which was featured in Paramount Picture's “A Thing Called Love”. The project is an Americana snapshot of dusty roads, outlaws, small towns and late night honky-tonks. First recorded in 1993 and shelved after his record deal turned sour, Berwick’s faith in the album never faded nor faltered.
"I took the thing off the damn shelf and listened" said Berwick. "After thirteen years the songs still sounded good. I realised it was senseless to bury the album with the ill fated record deal, so releasing it on my own label seemed the obvious thing to do."
Berwick most recently appeared at Nashville's Spirit Of The Outlaws Show, performing with Willie Nelson Bassist Bee Spears and Former Waylon Jennings drummer Richie Albright.
Shortly after the writing of this article AIN'T NO TRAIN OUTTA NASHVILLE
charted at #5 on xcountry satellite Radio and #32 on Roots Music Report Chart.
# 5 album on Xm Satellite Cross Country Radio 2007
# 7 album on Roots Music Report regional charts 2007
# 31 album on Roots Music Report national charts 2007
# 23 album on Baker Street Radio, France 2007
What the critics are saying--
"One of the best album of 2007."---Keith A. Gordon, former writer for Creem Magazine and The Nashville Metro
"Americana artist of the year."--Viking Radio, El Dorado,. Ca
"Berwick has made one of the best pieces of American rock'n'roll with attitude I've ever heard. If your looking for a perfect piece of Americana then this is it.
---John Murphy, Shite N' Onions Radio, Boston, Ma
Pete Berwick's classic and timeless highly acclaimed song.
#5 on Xm Satellite Cross Country Radio.
From the 2002 album "Only Bleeding"
and the 2007 album "Ain't no Train Outta Nashville."
CAN'T HIDE THE TEARS
From the album "Ain't No Train Outta Nashville."
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