SURFACE Dave Berg
When a lot of CDs arrive every month, you review a half dozen, and they inevitably pile up. Everywhere, in every room. Unfortunately, some of those stacks contain treasures like this record, and it may take a while before you realize it. Before you realize that this record you've looked at a lot but not yet played is something great.
The first impression is that it's a gorgeous sounding record. The artist produced, he and Gary Burnette, a session guitarist extraordinaire with many production credits to his name as well. Their particular wall of sound resonates in my ears like the voice of experience, pulling you into the middle of the sound. The way I hear it, a big soft bottom end rules. And there's a very alluring vocal that is mixed just a little further back, so that you are actively listening to it, instead of the voice being something you can't get away from when you're trying to zero in on other sounds on the record. It's hard to describe, but it makes my ears get involved, it's a good thing.
Berg is a great writer for Warner Chappell Music here in Nashville, and has had cuts with country artists like Ty Herndon, and edgier artists like the Warren Brothers and Meredith Brooks. But his records are pop records--very catchy, satisfying melodies with titles like "Coffee with Jesus" and "The Frowning Girl," and a tale of doomed incompatibility, "Leno Over Letterman." Dave's lyrics are superlative.
I've seen the man play a time or two in town, and always thought he was really good, but he'd be doing pop songs on acoustic guitar, which only does them a certain justice. The record shows how great his music really is. Berg and Burnette retain the services of many of Nashville's finest, and they get a sound I'm not used to hearing on any, even my favorite, Nashville records. A lot of that is Dave's writing and his excellent voice, but the rest is how the elements are put together, the production values involved. Well, hear it for yourself, on the Listen page. I'm gonna listen again, cause I'm digging it, and I'm learning something.
We dig Dave Berg big time, and Surface ought to be in your collection. Buy it here. FG