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Pope of Fools

Pope of Fools

  • Door Medicine Park
  • Release 12-10-2010
  • Muziekgenre Rock
  • Media-indeling CD
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Prijs: € 11,51

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Clay Berkes Presents Pope Of Fools The First Album From His New Band Medicine Park Pope Of Fools displays Berkes' Inventive Blend of Country, Soul, Folk, Rock And Pop Just to name a few, some of the players and special guests Include J.J. Johnson // John Mayer, Joshua Zarbo // Spoon, Chris Masterson // Son Volt, Bobby Bare JR., The Tosca String Quartet, and legendary Austin guitarist Jon Dee Graham. Clay Berkes has the voice of a crooner, the heart of a rocker and the soul of a poet. On Pope of Fools, the debut of his new band Medicine Park, the Oklahoma born and Austin, Texas based singer/songwriter and guitarist demonstrates his mastery of pop with a stylistic range that's hard to pin down. He draws on country, R&B, Americana, rock and pop, with a trace of Lone Star psychedelia thrown in for good measure. The result is a collection of tunes that sound as natural as his singing voice, a smooth tenor that delivers quiet passion and telling insight, with the touch of a master wordsmith. Medicine Park was really born after producer, George Reiff (Ray Wylie Hubbard), and Berkes decided to put a band together to record a few of his songs. Pulling from some of the best musicians around. Berkes describes, ' It was really interesting gathering players from all different worlds and musical backgrounds and getting them together. The players came from great acts ranging from John Mayer and Rocky Erickson to David Byrne and Keith Urban. Most of us lived in the same neighborhood and the studio was just a mile or so away. So family and friends stopped by to hang and contribute to the recording." The core band for Pope of Fools includes Berkes' long time friend and collaborator Brent "Mr. Shoes" Pendleton on keyboards, drummer J. J. Johnson, Joshua Zarbo on bass, and Jon Sanchez on lead electric guitar. The album was recorded live to two-inch analogue tape at Bruce Robison's Premium Recording in Austin in three marathon sessions. The music on Pope of Fools moves from quiet, singer/songwriter moments to flat out rockers, with Berkes' subtle soulful vocals holding things together. Most of the songs deal with memories of loves lost or unattainable, with his voice sliding up to a poignant falsetto to intensify his bittersweet lyrics. "Daphne Wilkerson," a hybrid of pop, country and soul, features dreamy marimba, chiming clavinet, slide guitar and playful baritone sax. Berkes delivers a quiet vocal full of longing and nostalgia. The guitar hook that opens "I Don't Mind" is tinged with a reminisently familiar hook party taken from The Rockford Files theme song, the 70s James Garner TV show. It's a sultry R&B tune, highlighted by Berkes' pleading vocal, Chris Masterson's tough guitar and Johnson's solid timekeeping. Berkes introduces "Who's Fooling You," a sweet pop/soul hybrid, with one of his warmest, most insistent vocals. Chiming guitars and the subtle colors of oboe and brass horn give the tune a hint of Beatlesque psychedelia. Berkes shows his range with "It's the Right Way," which blends quiet folk with clanging guitars and kaleidoscopic lyrics; the Memphis meets do-wop ballad "Dirty Fingernails," with it's lush female backing vocals and a sharp tremolo baritone guitar solo by brad rice. The slow seductive boogie of "Love County Line," 'It was a happy mistake, clay says, ' but this song has a JJ Cale vibe mixed with the impromptu dueling electric guitar's of jon sanchez and whit williams. It's a natural stand out ' "Pope of Fools," the quiet ballad that gives the album it's name, is a sad uncompromising reflection taken from the Victor Hugo novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. "I can't say enough about the players who were part of this album," Berkes says. "George kept the grand scope in mind, but he also let us trust our instincts, we'd start recording each take and he'd either pull us one way or the other most times it came very naturally. Joshua coming from the band spoon had a unique and interesting bass approach but also brought a jazz prowess to the tunes. Brent's hooks are brilliant and always compliment my style, John's a master of guitar effects, but can slip into just about any skin. And J. J.'s beats never fail. The complex pattern that sounds like a drum loop on 'Perfect Time' is J. J. playing live. In fact, most of the album was cut live with the band adding an extra dimension of feeling to the songs." The lush sounds on Pope of Fools will win you over from the first note, while repeated listening reveals the depth of the arrangements and the subtle skill of the players. Clay Berkes was born in Ardmore Oklahoma, the son of free thinking parents who encouraged his creative endeavors. ' at an early age i would mimic the singers i heard," Berkes says. "In first grade, my mother got me piano lessons and I played sax until junior high." Berkes hocked his sax to get the money to buy his first guitar and, after learning the basics from an Uncle, he taught himself to play. "My parents were only 17 and 18 yrs old when I was born," Berkes recalls. "My father had just finished high school when they married. After they split, I stayed with my mother. She always encouraged my creative endeavors. There was always music being heard from our house....Old classic rock records, funk, soul, as well as country and whatever was popular on Oklahoma radio. Our family didn't really fit the mold, we were quite unusual in that Oklahoma setting. We lived all over the city of Lawton and the artillery base at Ft. Sill which were connected. I went to Geronimo Elementary on Ft. Sill a couple times. The windows constantly rattled day and night from artillery explosions. You get used to it quickly. The military base brought in a very diverse group of people from all over the world. Which i think was a good thing to be exposed too. ' "My stepfather introduced us to funk and soul. We had a reel to reel tape deck when we lived in Germany, and I used to put on headphones and listen to James Brown, Steely Dan, Elton John and Wild Cherry. That had a lasting influence on me. By third grade, I was banging on pots and using wire clothes hangers as cymbals and recording my songs on a little tape deck." After his mother took him to see Cheap Trick at the Lawton Coliseum, Berkes knew he was going to become a musician. Berkes honed his guitar and songwriting skills in high school, but didn't start playing in bands until his first year at Oklahoma University. He was in cover bands during college and, after graduation, moved to Austin. "I didn't like the thought of being one more musician searching for a dream or whatever, so I sold my gear, except for my mandolin." After lying low for a few years and working as a bartender, landscaper and part time furniture mover, the itch to make music returned. Berkes put together Love County with singer/guitarist Russell Roberson. The band's blend of pop, roots rock, country and soul got rave reviews right out of the box. Critics praised Berkes' moving lead vocals, the smooth harmonies of Berkes and Roberson and their repertoire of rockers and romantic ballads. "We played around Texas and back home in Oklahoma. I pretty much did everything in that band, wrote the songs, put up the posters, did publicity, sold merch at shows and booked and managed us. I also arranged some live recordings of the band at The Saxon Pub in Austin which we put on CD to sell at shows." Eventually bass player George Reiff, who has toured with Jakob Dylan and The Dixie Chicks and produced Ray Wylie Hubbard, offered his services. Love County went into the studio to work out a few tunes. During the demo sessions, the bands flame blew out but Berkes and Reiff kept in touch. "I told George I wanted to record a few of my new tunes. With his help, we put together a stellar ensemble. We went into the studio with engineer Steve Christensen, who just won a Grammy for Steve Earle's Townes Van Zandt record, and cut three tunes. Everything clicked. We had such a good time that, at the end, everyone said, 'OK, what next?--I said, let's do a whole record! And Medicine Park was born.' The result is Pope of Fools, the debut of Berkes' new band Medicine Park, a collaborative effort that includes some of Austin's best players. With the album in the can, Berkes and Medicine Park will do few local Austin shows before hitting the road to support the record. "i see medicine park as more of a band collective, Berkes explains, ' you never know who might be joining in on the fun.'

Details

Kunstenaar: Medicine Park
Titel: Pope of Fools
Genre: Rock
Releasedatum: 12-10-2010
Label: CD Baby
Media-indeling: CD
UPC: 884501388795

Credits