Tennessee’s very own Renaissance man and cowpunk pioneer, Pete Berwick, is seeing off 2020 with a retrospective of his extensive and active career. The ‘Too Cow to Punk’ anthology, set for release in January 2021 through his own label Shotgun Records, cherry-picks songs from a back catalogue stretching from 1976 to 2019 over a series of critically acclaimed albums. A man of many talents, Berwick has crossed several boundaries – from amateur boxing to novel writing, stand-up comedian to actor, the wandering storyteller has a wealth of experience from which to draw inspiration for his tales of love, loss and regret.
From the hard-hitting snarl of opener ‘Is That What You’re Telling Me’, through the darkness of ‘Chained’, to the reflective ‘Streets of Pasadena’ (the final song of his most recent album ‘Island’), you’re getting all sides of Berwick’s character – a 37-song collection of heart-on-the-sleeve confessions delivered down hard-fought years. The album finishes with the defiant ‘Vacancy in My Heart’, the free-flowing slide guitar of this bluesy barnstormer capping off a thoroughly brilliant, raucous and rousing record.
The energy and charisma which have dominated Berwick’s life is presented here in almost half a century of music. The anthology is far more than just a collection of songs – it’s a journey that includes re-recordings and remasters, some rarities and one unreleased song, ‘Preachers Kid’. A songwriter long before cowpunk became a thing, Berwick has explained how the title of the album comes from when one audience member told him many years ago he was “more cow than punk”. Throughout the years, Berwick has been an artist treading a dusty road between rock, country and punk, and this latest release is undoubtedly the perfect starting place for new listeners wishing to follow him down that long, colourful road.
Author: Craggy Collyde