Biography

The Bio

“Berkeley crafts his songs like watercolor paintings. Intimate and introspective, his gentle
yet colorful melodies are graceful and resonate long after the last note fades.” – Creative Loafing, Atlanta

Santa Fe-based songwriter and author David Berkeley writes songs capable of both breaking and mending the heart. The San Francisco Chronicle calls him a “musical poet,” and the New York Times praises his “lustrous, melancholy voice with shades of Tim Buckley and Nick Drake.” He was a guest on This American Life, and he’s won many songwriting awards and honors including ASCAPs Johnny Mercer Songwriting Award. He’s released six studio albums, one live album, a DVD, and authored two books. Berkeley’s last release was a never-before tried concept: a novella comprising ten intertwining stories and an album of ten accompanying songs (one for each story). He is one half of the wildly creative Trans-Atlantic costumed duo Son of Town Hall, and (surprising most perhaps to Berkeley himself) his music has been remixed by many of the world’s top EDM DJs. Berkeley is back with his most relevant and powerful music yet, a set of political love songs called The Faded Red and Blue.

“I actually began writing this batch of songs just after the American presidential election in November of 2016,” says Berkeley. “I was in Washington, D.C., on tour with Son of Town Hall. My bandmate Ben Parker and I wandered into the National Museum of American History and found ourselves standing in front of the American Flag that inspired the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. That beautiful old flag was profoundly and surprisingly moving. It looked particularly fragile. Like our democracy itself, it was worn and weathered. It seemed to be nearly falling apart. I felt both a great love and a great fear for our union on that day. I still feel that. I finished these songs in the spring of 2018 shortly after the Parkland shooting.”

Releasing November 2nd, 2018, The five songs in this collection cover a variety of topics that have filled the airwaves and newspapers for the past two years: Trump, gun violence, immigration, the environment, even suicide. “I have two sons,” Berkeley explains. “They are eleven and eight. These past two years have been particularly tough for me, not only as a songwriter but also as a father. In both roles I believe it is important to seek out positives, to look for light even as we admit and express darkness. Since the election, I’ve struggled in both capacities to do this. So many times when I went to my shed hoping to write something pretty, the latest headlines shouted up at me and altered my course. And all too often, when one of my boys asked me to explain something the president said, I struggled to respond appropriately. Though I found it easy to write about what was angering me, I wanted to do more than just rant. I didn’t want to widen an already gaping divide. That’s not really why I write songs.”

Instead, Berkeley managed to write from a place of love. He has found hope at a time where hope is hard to find. “So I’ve looked for common ground, maybe even some shared humanity,” he continues. “I wrote these songs as much for me as for you. And I wrote them for my boys. To remind us all that we still live in a world that is worth loving, that is still worth holding dear.”

David Berkeley’s gift as a songwriter and storyteller is that he sees both the tragedy and comedy in life, managing to both reveal the sorrow at the heart of the human condition and the blazing joy and beauty in the same. It’s a duality that audiences experience at all of Berkeley’s shows as he tells uproarious stories between cathartic songs. It’s also why his fans respond so deeply to his music and why so many look to him to express what they are often unable to articulate. Berkeley’s songs are at once hard and hopeful.

Berkeley tours extensively all over the country and world. He’s opened/toured with Dido, Don McLean, Ben Folds, Billy Bragg, Ray Lamontagne, Nickel Creek and many more. He was a Kerrville New Folk winner, a New Song and Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Finalist. He’s performed on Mountain Stage, The World Café, the Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest, XM Loft Sessions, Acoustic Café, to name a few.

“If you’re into literate soulful singer songwriters, David Berkeley is the Gabriel García Márquez of beautiful-voiced troubadours.” – KRUU