"So spellbinding…Quiet, contemplative, heartfelt and forlorn... a sound that requires the listener to lean in and focus."

Blurt

“Berkeley’s a musical poet.”

– San Francisco Chronicle

I love writing songs, but that doesn't mean that it's a painless process. I came to the craft late. It was Junior year in college and I took a semester off and moved to California. I was heartbroken and homesick. I went to the ocean and the redwoods. I tried to write. Songs rarely come easy for me. They didn’t then. They don’t now. Sometimes I tinker with a piece for months. I have yet to wake from a dream with a song intact. I chip away. I write pages of verses. I whittle. I take hikes. I bike. I see if the melodies I am making up stick in my head. When I am in the middle of creating a new song, life makes at least a little sense. The world brims. I see with clear eyes. My path feels right, feels important.

Performing is one of my greatest joys. I have loved singing for people since I was three and my babysitter walked me around the neighborhood in Scotch Plains, NJ, where I grew up. I was her chubby-cheeked assistant whiler she sold her Avon products (something my parents didn't know about and were certainly not paying her for). The door would open, and she’d scoot me out from behind her wide hips. I would belt out a couple verses of "The Titanic song." ("They built the ship Titanic to sail the ocean blue...") They’d give me Oreo cookies or Fig Newtons and squeeze my cheeks. Then she’d seal the deal, working her way slowly up that golden pyramid. That's how it all began. And then the hippie nursery school I went to, taught by beautiful women with guitars around their necks, assured my path once and for all.

It is powerful to share something I wrote and have it resonate with an audience. It testifies to a connection we have, a common struggle, a shared emotion. It’s like the magic of a good conversation. Our shared humanity is affirmed. It's probably why I write songs. To feel that connection, to know that we are not alone.

I talk a lot on stage. That wasn’t always the case. In my first couple of years performing, I was very shy. Slowly I got a taste of how it felt to make people laugh. I began thinking of jokes and writing cues down on my setlist. I looked forward to delivering those lines almost as much as I looked forward to singing my songs. Humor became a way to balance the intensity of some of my songs. Eventually, I trusted that if I was present, if I was totally myself, thoughts would emerge on the spot, stories would arise, things would be funny, and I could talk without inhibition. Now, no two shows are alike. I might plan a set list (or not), but what I say depends on the room, depends on the times. And even if the bones of a story I tell are the same, each incarnation is fresh.

I started writing books because I liked the interplay between songs and stories at my shows. My first book, 140 Goats and a Guitar, is a memoir about becoming a new father and a year Sarah and I spent with our then 1-year-old-son Jackson on Corsica. It pairs with my album Some Kind of Cure. Each essay sets up a song on the record. My second book is fiction. The Free Brontosaurus tells 10 interweaving stories. It pairs with my album Cardboard Boat. Every song on Cardboard Boat is from the perspective of the main character from each story in the book.

Now, at least half of my musical life is spent working with my duo, Son of Town Hall. In many ways, this is the evolution and full realization of my interest in songs and storytelling. My partner, Ben Parker, and I have created a huge, living story in which we are the main characters. We embody those characters onstage, and we write songs for them. Performing as Josiah Chester Jones with Son of Town Hall is a new kind of performance art for me. It calls on all of my skills as a songwriter and a storyteller, and it’s constantly evolving.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your support. I’m very grateful to be able to dedicate most of my life to creating, and I’m very aware that I wouldn’t be able to do without that support.

With a big heart, I remain,

DavidBerekely-signature-24

Handcrafted indpendent music since 2001.

8 STUDIO ALBUMS | 1 LIVE ALBUM | 2 BOOKS

“Berkeley’s a musical poet.”

– San Francisco Chronicle

I love writing songs. I came to the craft late. Junior year in college, I took a semester off and moved to California. I was heartbroken and homesick, and I went to the ocean and the redwoods. I tried to write. Songs rarely come easy for me. They didn’t then. They don’t now. Sometimes I tinker with a piece for months. I have yet to wake from a dream with a song intact. I chip away. I write pages of verses. I whittle. I take hikes. I bike. I see if the melodies I am making up stick in my head. When I am in the middle of creating a new song, life makes at least a little sense. The world brims. I see with clear eyes. My path feels right, feels important.

Performing is one of my greatest joys. I have loved singing for people since I was three and my babysitter walked me around the neighborhood selling her Avon products. The door would open, and she’d scoot me out from behind her wide hips, and I would sing The Titanic song. They’d give me Oreo cookies or Fig Newtons and squeeze my cheeks. Then she’d seal the deal, working her way slowly up that pyramid. It is powerful to share something I wrote and have it resonate with an audience. It testifies to a connection we have, a common struggle, a shared emotion. It’s like the magic of a good conversation. Our shared humanity is affirmed.

I talk a lot on stage. That wasn’t always the case. In my first couple of years performing, I was very shy. Slowly I got a taste of how it felt to make people laugh. I began thinking of jokes and writing cues down on my setlist. I looked forward to delivering those lines almost as much as I looked forward to singing my songs. Humor became a way to balance the intensity of some of my songs. Eventually, I trusted that if I was present, if I was totally myself, thoughts would emerge on the spot, stories would arise, things would be funny, and I could talk without inhibition. Now, no two shows are alike. I might plan a set list (or not), but what I say depends on the room, depends on the times. And even if the bones of a story I tell are the same, each incarnation is fresh.

I started writing books because I liked the interplay between songs and stories at my shows. My first book, 140 Goats and a Guitar, is a memoir about becoming a new father and a year Sarah and I spent with our then 1-year-old-son Jackson on Corsica. It pairs with my album Some Kind of Cure. Each essay sets up a song on the record. My second book is fiction. The Free Brontosaurus tells 10 interweaving stories. It pairs with my album Cardboard Boat. Every song on Cardboard Boat is from the perspective of the main character from each story in the book.

Now, at least half of my musical life is spent working with my duo, Son of Town Hall. In many ways, this is the evolution and full realization of my interest in songs and storytelling. My partner, Ben Parker, and I have created a huge, living story in which we are the main characters. We embody those characters onstage, and we write songs for them. Performing as Josiah Chester Jones with Son of Town Hall is a new kind of performance art for me. It calls on all of my skills as a songwriter and a storyteller, and it’s constantly evolving.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your support. I’m very grateful to be able to dedicate most of my life to creating, and I’m very aware that I wouldn’t be able to do without that support.

With a big heart, I remain,

DavidBerekely-signature-24