On January 25, 2011, David Berkeley released his 4th studio album, ‘Some Kind of Cure’ along with its accompanying book of short stories, 140 Goats and a Guitar – The Stories Behind Some Kind of Cure. Berkeley hones his craft with a complex collection of songs, the majority of which were written while his family lived in the tiny village of Corsica, France. These songs are layered with beautiful lyrics, intense emotion, and brilliant arrangement.
The record is a musical escape, Berkeley’s voice, a haunting tenor, which at times moves to a quiet staccato, weaves stories from his songs beginning with “George Square.” The story is of love, but not the fairy tale variety, rather the “real” kind, love that is beautiful and multifaceted and mystifying.
Many of the songs, like “Independence” offer a sense of season, a cyclical pattern, where life in a variety of forms begins and ends. Berkeley sings: “Feels like the first of the year. Eerie, we’re all trying to find, where to start over, and how to begin.”
Distant vocals open “Parachute”, giving the listener an illusion of tuning into a radio station from outside of city limits. The illusion is fitting for the energetic travel song infused with rock and the soulful vocals of Kim Taylor (Over the Rhine) who with Berkeley guides listeners to an open road and its adventures. Again the cycle of life and the changing of season are represented as Taylor croons, “And oh, you and I, autumn sky, trying to see so far.”
As the record progresses ‘Some Kind of Cure’ mixes light with dark, hope with fear, and longing with resolution. The title track begins with bells from the village church in Corsica and paints a picture of a place most likely unvisited, except for in imaginations and dreams. A place where secrets and sorcerers exist to offer that cure and sense of hope Berkeley boldly sings of, the things that many people hold deep inside of them but are too reticent to let break the surface.
The record culminates in the song, “Winters Wind” where a father imagines his final conversation with his son as he awaits death. The song begins quietly then builds to a desperate crescendo where strings, horns, guitar, and voice come together in a hurricane of emotion which then subsides to an aching quiet, “But you know these winter winds will soon be settling. Even the sun will shine. One day it will be spring. Oh it’s hard, I know, to carry on. Go with grace my son.”
Simply put, ‘Some Kind of Cure’ is mesmerizing. Whether listening to Berkeley for the first or thousandth time, there is no mistaking that his efforts on ‘Some Kind of Cure’ are that of an artist mastering his profession. His approach on this record is raw and poignant. The songs come from the heart of a father offering wisdom which comes as seasons turn into years and experiences turn into stories. He writes and performs not as an untouchable artist on a pedestal, but as everyman. Berkeley is truly a storyteller and his talent is stamped on all thirteen songs featured on Some Kind of Cure.
By Linda Turk