13-09-2023 Music 26

Berkley - Pueblo

Berkley - Pueblo

Portland indie pop artist Berkley releases the full-length debut 'Pueblo' album via Oregon label Big Secret Records. Moving towards the full vision of the small world Berkley has built with his singles 'Pueblo Nights', 'Your Place' and 'Fiesta Day', the songwriter expands personal flashbacks of his youth growing up in Pueblo, Colorado into 10 tracks of gauzy, straight-ahead reflections on how one creates the myths of their life and whether they are worth living or erasing.

Presented as individual impressionist snapshots, 'Pueblo' offers an introduction not just to Berkley's songcraft, but to the person behind the guitar. Universal themes coming from this exploration of trauma — healing and forgiveness — reveal that Berkley couldn't write about his hometown without writing about himself and his relationships. Losing friends, lovers, feeling self-conscious, demanding but fearing a larger existence: that's not just Pueblo. That's life.

Here, Berkley revisits the good, the bad and the ugly, understanding that hindsight is 20/20 and concluding that, ultimately, some things never change. Interrogating the small spaces shared between what-ifs of the past and the realities of the present is where Berkley’s songwriting shines. With laid-back pop grooves driven by shaky electric guitar tones and chiming keyboards, this is sincere and relatable pop-rock with slight shades of Americana and classic 70's AM rock.

Berkley is the nom-de-plume of Andrew Jones, a recording engineer whose production and songwriting adventures include recording with former Cher bassist and ASCAP award winner Bob Parr, a power pop collaboration with members of The Offspring, and the “gorgeous” (AV Club) synthesizer project Sound for Bombs.

As Berkley, Jones weaves together a wide range of influences, diving in with renewed vigor for writing and performing. In terms of his origins, after touring in his own punk and metal bands in his teens and early 20s, Andrew Jones took a chance on the Los Angeles songwriting scene, ultimately finding himself as part of a team of writers tasked with developing early ideas for Michael Jackson’s comeback album.

Following Jackson’s death, Jones re-evaluated his path in music and stopped writing and performing for three years while he taught university writing and literature. Jones’ muses returned in 2010 when he quit his teaching job to immerse himself in jazz guitar studies and rekindle his relationship with music and his primary instrument.

Read also