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Chris Berardo Shares 1997 Album 'American Dust' on Digital Platforms For the First Time

Chris Berardo Shares 1997 Album 'American Dust' on Digital Platforms For the First Time

The album is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

In conjunction with the 25th Anniversary re-release of his American Dust, originally recorded in 1997, New York-born, Connecticut-based singer-songwriter CHRIS BERARDO will perform two New York-area concerts on October 25 at The Cutting Room and November 11 at The Metropolitan Club, with additional dates in Texas in November at Saxon Pub (November 2nd), Fredricksburg (November 3rd and 4th), and Preservation Hall (November 6th). Visit here for more tour date information.

With American Dust, now available across digital platforms for the first time, Berardo created the foundation for the vibrant Americana music that has earned him critical accolades and a devoted fan base.

Songs like the tender, harmony-filled "Somewhere Down the Line" and the hopeful "One Chance" express Berardo's kinship with country music while the Crowded House-esque "Hard Times for The Lonely" and darkly moody "She's Leaving Me" finds him further broadening his musical boundaries.

"Old Man's Eyes" is a heartwarming, highly personal ode about parental wisdom and bonding that Berardo wrote about his father. In fact, he credits the song with saving his relationship with his dad. The song is one Berardo still performs, and he says that his fans have used it at their own fathers' birthday parties or memorials. "To be able to play some tiny part in people's lives, that helps them make your music a fabric of their lives, feels great," Berardo shares.

The anthemic title track remains in Berardo's current repertoire. Fueled by a potent mix of acoustic and electric guitar, this top-down-on-convertible roots rockin' tune distills Berardo's defiant sense of optimism, which remains strong today. "American Dust" is "a song about community and possibilities [exploring the] big broad idea of what life and what America is about," he muses.

"One Step Closer to Goodbye" stands as another key album track. While on one level it looks at a relationship coming to an end, the song marks a point in time when Berardo says goodbye to the poppier rock sound he made in L.A. and returns to the country rock music that feels closer to his heart. "It was a prototype for me," Berardo explains. "Because I thought, yeah, this feels like we can have a rock band and still have these real songs, and that 'country' isn't a scary word."

When Berardo first started performing around New York City, he attracted the attention of superstar manager Bill Aucoin (Kiss, Billy Idol), who offered his help and encouragement. Berardo's bands were always on the verge, but never broke through. Aucoin helped Berardo move to Los Angeles and get situated in L.A.'s music scene. Berardo worked with hit songwriter/producer Bob Crewe (Four Seasons, LaBelle); however, his rock/pop music didn't fit in with the, then-popular, hair metal sound.

After returning home to New York, Berardo realized that he had to create songs that were true to himself, and not ones aimed for the music industry. "If I was going to restart, it had to be completely what I wanted to do," he reveals. "I started to think of what I had loved as a kid and started to write differently. I wanted to experiment with things that were more country rock and earthy, just things like I had been raised on."

He put together a band with an assortment of New York and Connecticut musicians, including his brothers Marcand Scott, mandolin/lap steel player Dan Neal (who has played on several subsequent Berardo albums), and bassist Tom Marotta (Indigo Girls). "There was no budget; there was no plan," Berardo admits. "I just wanted to document this stuff."

The recordings were a hodgepodge affair too: sometimes happening in studios but more often not. "One Step Closer" was done on an eight-track cassette recorder in a friend's bedroom, while the funky rocker "Is There Anybody Out There" was recorded hurriedly (and inexpensively) after the band had played it only a few times. Fans who know the song after it evolved into a rousing showstopper might not even recognize this early version.

Pristine sound isn't the point of American Dust. It's an album about an artist rediscovering the joy of creating music for the love of it. A prime example is the sole live track, "Still Your Friend." Recorded at 3 am in NYC's Cellar Bar at the end of the band's second set, the track has uneven sound, bar room sounding performance, but it conveys the whole-hearted exuberance that is only achieved after a group and its audience are locked in. While not technically perfect, the recording is significant to Berardo because "it is just the sort of thing that made me realize what's good about doing these things to people directly."

Berardo has continued to bring music to the people. While he self-released American Dust in an era when self-releases were a rarity, the album did serve as something of a calling card for him, leading him to sign with a Nashville indie label where he put out Pure Faith and Ignoring All the Warning Signs attracting critics' praise. Music Row Magazine hailed it "as good a country-rock record as you will hear this year" and Vintage Guitar Magazine proclaimed that the album established Berardo's "place in the lexicon of roots rock." Americana Music Times, moreover, named Chris Berardo and the DesBerardos as "one of the finest Americana bands out there."

Of late, Berardo has released a series of singles: "Somewhere Blue," a knock-out cover of the Badfinger classic "Baby Blue," and his gorgeous original holiday tune "This Year." These songs were all done in collaboration with longtime Reckless Kelly guitarist, David Abeyta, who also is producing Berardo's upcoming full-length album, Wilder All The Time.

Although American Dust has been available over the years, it has been only on a small scale - like merch stands. It's understandable why Berardo is excited about bringing these songs, which come from such a pivotal time in his career, to a larger audience. "When I hear American Dust, it actually gives me a wonderful feeling," he confides. "I think, well look at this: you wrote 10 songs you're really proud of, recorded them, and started a cool band that's lasted essentially to this day. So that gives me a very happy feeling."

Listen to the new single here:

From This Author - Michael Major

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