|Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase||Marc Douglas Berardo|
In the early 1990's Marc Douglas Berardo bounced around between Florida , Northern California , New York and Portland, Maine performing full time (mostly in tourist bars), occasionally opening for great songwriters like blues legend Chris Smither, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Members The Buffalo Springfield and Boston's Brooks Williams. It was in St Augustine, Florida, that he found a home and a safe harbor to learn about songs and performing. "The first day I showed up in town, some local crazies took me to the world famous Trade Winds Lounge to see the most famous local crazy; the Southern folk poet Gamble Rogers. After a few drinks, the crowd I was with wanted to leave, but I stayed. Good move, too. I learned more that afternoon than I deserved. I didn't know where I was going to sleep that night, but I knew I was in the right place." St Augustine proved to be fertile ground for someone who wanted to write songs. "It felt like I had all the time in the world to really learn about songs. Everyday was a new musical lesson as well as a new life lesson. I didn't have a real thought out plan. I was playing great rooms like the Sandpiper and the Trade Winds Bar ,The Foghorn or the Beachhead, or really anyplace with a nautical name and neon in the window .... I wasn't neccesarily trying, but I guess I was becoming a singer/songriter kind of guy. One thing I did know, was that whenever I would get to play and sing, especially a song that I made up in my head, it felt good and fine. I always felt a low and exciting hum, a kind of glow that felt right. I was sure that I was holding a winning ticket. I still do. It was, and still is, my idea of serious and important fun."
Around this time Marc and his two brothers (Chris and Scott) with some assorted friends formed the country rock influenced DesBerardo Band during a visit's home to New York. The group developed a large regional following, sharing the stage with national acts like Little Feat, Southern rockers Molly Hatchet, The Marshall Tucker Band, Dickey Betts and Great Southern and Beatle protégés BadFinger. A CD entitled "American Dust" followed.
It was during the recording of the American Dust CD (1997) that Berardo met songwriter and Hayloft Records owner Michael Branden, who was moved and excited by some songs that Marc played for him one very late night. Plans were made, handshakes were proffered, recording machines were oiled and started, resulting in two CD’s for the Connecticut based Hayloft Records: the stark and ethereal Further On Tomorrow (1998) and the well received follow-up Second Chance (2000). Both recordings are available nationally through Amazon.com, Folkweb.com, CDBaby.com and Hayloftrecords.com.
Now based in the ocean port town of Westerly, RI, Marc performs everywhere from bars and coffeehouses to theaters and national festivals throughout New England, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Texas, California, Delaware, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and Florida. Along the way he has shared the stage with notables such as, Peter Rowan and His Texas Trio, Donna the Buffalo, Boston Music Award winner Jenny Reynolds, Florida fingerstyle guitar master Sam Pacetti, Texas legend Guy Clark, New York City jazz great KJ Denhert, fiddler Vassar Clements, bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, Falcon Ridge Most Wanted Trina Hamlin and Kevin So, Nashville’s Jim Lauderdale,Texas soul singer Ruthie Foster, humorist Diedre Flint, Norman Blake (Oh Brother Soundtrack), 2002 Telluride Troubadour and Kerrville Folk Fest Winner Meg Hutchinson, folk poet Eric Andersen, the great Steve Forbert, Mustard's Retreat and others. In a interesting side note, Berardo also performed as a member of the roots rock and country Those Guys Band in St. Augustine, Florida, a group that can list Banner Thomas (Molly Hatchet), Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Jim Essery (The Allman Brothers), Danny Roberts (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and a host of southern rock legends as one time members. How Berardo spent most of the year 2001 with such a wild and cool rock and roll band, is a whole other story for a whole other day. In the meantime, Berardo is back doing what he does best...making up songs and singing them with what Minor Seventh Magazine called: "...his lonesome, clear voice."
Marc and his songs have been recognized in many of the country's biggest song contest and awards including Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, Suwannee Springfest, Wildflower Arts Festival, Telluride Troubadour Conest and The Plowshares Song Contest. In January of 2005, his song The Story (Life After Hemingway) was chosen among 140,000 songs and 10,000 CDs to be one of 11 nominations for best song by a male singer songwriter at the Just Plain Folks Awards in Los Angelos, CA. If you have read this far, you are obligated (in 18 states and all US territories, void where prohibited), to check this guy and his music out.
In April of 2006, Munga Music will release Marc Douglas Berardo’s fourth CD (his first for the CT based label), entitled HARBOR. The highly anticipated collection produced by Prof. Dick Neal (Plexigrass, Larry Deming, Mockingbirds) is musically adventurous, oozing with integrity and just plain good for your soul. The thirteen new songs are framed by emotional string arrangements, exhilarating front porch clap a-longs and fine grooves that ease in like a quiet fog and leave a lasting impression. The February 2006 National Folk DJ Radio Survey listed HARBOR at #35, tied with a trio of legendary names: Jackson Browne, Pete Seeger, Rodney Crowell. The title track (Harbor) will be included on the Martha's Vineyard Radio Sampler (Fresh Produce Vol. 2) that will be available in over 10,000 independent retail stores. Plans for 2006 include live shows and radio appearances from Maine to Timbucktu , and anywhere else with a some neon in the window and room to play with what Minor Seventh Magazine called : "Berardo's lonesome and clear voice."
put together (with info & pics from Bob
Gramann ) by Ernest Ackermann.
Send rants/rave to above mentioned Ackermann
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