Following the release of 2020’s extensive compilation ‘Too Cow to Punk’, tenacious troubadour Pete Berwick continues the rich retrospective of his ever-expanding career with the arrival of ‘Ballads that Bleed’. Whereas the former focused mostly (but not solely) on the harder side of his creative spirit, the latter tackles the more melancholic side of Berwick’s personal journey.

As rousing as his tougher anthems may be, it’s the ballads where the biggest part of the story is told, and it’s where Berwick appears most in his element. While the audience might be calling for Nuclear Boy or Rebels and Cadillacs, it’s not difficult to imagine Berwick sitting comfortably in the corner of a dark roadside bar, bleeding out through the microphone over Only Bleeding, Island, or I Fought with Angels.

Ballads that Bleed contains 23 tracks covering much of this introspective output throughout the many years that he’s been honing his craft. From the beautifully delicate Just Make it You and Me Tonight, to the thoughtful Streets of Pasadena or the observant This Used to be a Town, each song inspires a different image – each presenting another small part of the wider picture Berwick is masterfully painting. Some songs are purely about hardship, such as I Ain’t Going Back There Anymore whilst others, like Anyway, focus on the complex nature of personal relationships.

As an accomplished storyteller, it’s fitting that for every hard rocking song that’s slugging it out in the trenches, there’s an equally self-defeating one, battered and bruised in the gutter. It’s a pattern many of us can relate to, and it’s part of what makes Berwick’s music indeed so relatable. As an artist there are many sides to Pete Berwick – musician, actor, boxer and all-round entertainer. For him the work never quits, and thus the journey continues.

And long may it do so…

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Author: Craggy Collyde