“Paul Bergmann is a prize-fighter: sinuous, sinewy, a ballerina in a bloodspot arena.”[L.A. Record.]
There is no word in the English dictionary that properly captures the easily recognizable, yet difficult to describe sensation of being both happy and sad at the same time. Paul Bergmann creates this nameless feeling, among others equally recognizable and complex, like frustration, adoration, and yearning. Paul’s music is refreshingly tangible in our digital age. His voice and melodies are reminiscent of late nights on back porches filled with wine-mouth sing-alongs and buzzing crickets. In a word, Paul can at times be nostalgic; yet he avoids the pitfalls of many by being unapologetically himself. Both a crooner and a wordsmith, Bergmann has evolved from his previous EPs and debut LP into a more refined, upbeat version of himself, with forays into electronic beats and off-kilter orchestral arrangements on his newest record “Nothing At All”. The album is a waltz from Los Angeles, where it was conceived and recorded, to Maine, where he currently resides, across Middle America and the plains and cities in between. “Nothing At All” was produced by avant-garde composer Brendan Eder. With a background in film scoring and currently helming an experimental chamber ensemble of his own, Eder’s influence is plain to see. The collaboration birthed the final sound of the record, which is riddled with Eder’s inventive, eclectic compositions. The album features wide-ranging instrumentation, from the airy string section floating through the somber title track, to the sparkling sounds of the vibraphone on “The Heart is a Rock by the Sea”, to the felicitous full-orchestral accompaniment on “Where Were You?”. Paul’s lyrics and tone are as honest as ever, at times a bit tongue-in-cheek, and always very now. The record, which features a track produced by L.A. tastemaker Gus Seyffert (of Beck and The Black Keys), encompasses a variety of emotions yet still feels cohesive.
In short, “Nothing at All” is the result of years of singing, touring, playing shows, and recording. While a bit nihilistic, the brutally honest (and also funny) title is one that we all can commiserate with.
- Leanna Robinson
Bart Davenport is a Bay Area native and something of a legend here. Davenport was in The Loved Ones and is the always dancing frontman from Honeycut, a disco-rock band featured at the very first Treasure Island Music Festival. Bart's '60s and '70s tinged R&B dance rock will get just about anyone moving, from power-poppers to slow-jammers. He's like our own Mick Jagger, and even with only an acoustic guitar, you will be sure to enjoy yourself immensely at a live show. This year, Bart has put out a solo album, Searching for Bart Davenport, with acoustic covers of songs by the likes of Love, David Byrne, Kings of Convenience and more.