"Songs For Madame X"
"Berg resides in New York but is originally from Greenville, making this release one of the finest folk-rock albums ever made by an Upstate musician. Only 22 years old, Berg sounds like a sage with a deep-throated vocal style that at various turns recalls Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. Hardly a typical singer-songwriter release, "Songs For Madame X" is full of lush musical arrangements and diverse instrumentation that makes it clear that Berg is a serious artist with unlimited potential."
- Dan Armonaitis - Spartanburg Herald-Journal (March 15, 2007)
Currently SONGS FOR MADAME X is out of print but is still available digitally at the links below...
Stay tuned for a CD/LP reissue coming soon!
Release Date: February 20, 2007 (digital only)
1. Madame X
2. House Of Light
3. Too Soon To Tell
4. Waiting For A Woman
5. Two Of A Kind
6. Nothing Between The Walls
7. A Woman In My House
8. Then & Now
9. Darkest Before The Dawn
A HASTY ARCHIVED LIVE SOLO PERFORMANCE from January 2007:
Aaron Berg in his own words:
This is the first and only album I recorded with the Brooklyn incarnation of The Heavy Love. The tracks were drawn from a variety of sources from a huge empty loft in Williamsburg on Driggs Avenue where we taped drums (Russ Kleiner, Brian Quinn) to my own basement studio at the time in East Bushwick, Brooklyn where most of the long hours of overdubs and layering occured. "Too Soon To Tell" and "A Woman In My House" were recorded live in the 13th floor studio (yes, 13th floor) of the New School for Social Research in Greenwich Village, NYC. I recorded and mixed the entire project myself with help from Abe Seiferth (drums in the big loft) and Roy Coopervasser (mastering). I experimented considerably with the overdubs using heavy layered delay, ring modulators, multiple mics, hand made percussion, as well as virtually any idea I could stumble upon between sunset and dawn. If the making of this album could be summoned up in a few words they would 'late night experimentation'. We hope to press this album on vinyl sometime in coming year.
These were the first songs that I wrote. The band was composed of school mates all of whom were virtuoso musicians themselves. We almost never rehearsed and were stoic as hell speaking when we did in rhymes, riddles, and sarcasm. I remember being at art school during that time riding in the elevator with girls going to classes with angel wings and painted faces. Jazz kids shooting up in the bathroom. Life was colored by mass excess and eccentricity merged. People freaking out looking for the line to cross. The live shows this band played were some of the most intense experiences I've had in music. Although I would have liked to have recorded with this band in a fully equipped professional studio, ultimately I stand by our low-fi do-it-yourself production. The songs have nowhere to hide and my lack of experience singing lives out front of all the haunted manic density the band generated.
"Waiting For A Woman" was a song that came along when I had just moved into an apartment near school on West 4th Street and 8th Avenue in New York City. This was a few weeks just before the first anniversary of September 11th in 2001. The windows were still all black with ash. I cut a deal with a roomate at the time that I would clean the place if he would drive up all the furniture the following weekend. Sitting up one night that week leading up to September 11th the city was in total denial about its bleeding heart. In New York life is lived largely on the street so everyone devotes extra attention to their own repetoire of masks. That week the apartment was completely empty except for a wooden chair I found on the street, my suitcase and guitar, a sleeping bag, and big box of assorted cleaning products. In the morning I sat backwards out the windows and gave the glass back its transparency.
"Darkest Before The Dawn" I wrote for Johnny and June mostly at an ex-girlfriends house on Gramercy Park West. I had a lucid dream I was walking through an endless field with Johnny Cash. The title of the song is a tip of the hat to the Carter Family version of the gospel hymn of same name. I miss the days when country music meant fighting for self-reliance and dignity for the common man. I'm sure it still does brooding in some nameless bar somewhere. Walking one day in Brooklyn alongside the Williamsburg Bridge, I came to a stop at a street corner by the base of one of the bridge's feet. Tattooed on the side in white spray it said 'Johnny Cash died of a broken heart'.
One of first songs I wrote in one sitting, "House Of Light" speaks for itself I guess. Living in New York City during the last Bush years and the war in Iraq, I witnessed the protests first hand. It was surreal watching cops beat people of bicycles and arrest them. And then all the young ambitious lawyers on the sides shouting for their names. Some people standing around just pissed they couldn't get home. I wonder when our governments will be able to admit that war is not an event but an industry? Acceptance is the first step.
"Too Soon To Tell" was a walking song. I told Mike to play the Rhodes like Glenn Gould on LSD. Some day I really do hope to skydive through the cranium of a beautiful girl. Just haven't found her yet...
The Brooklyn Heavy Love, L to R: Mike Effenberger, Aaron Berg, Sam Howard, Myk Freedman, Brian Quinn
Recording "Songs For Madame X" at the Eldert Street Studio where Berg also lived: