Pete Berwick is a Renaissance man; a pioneering songwriter and recording artist, professional actor and consummate entertainer with over forty years experience in live performance, songwriting and recording, film, television, music production, comedy, and character acting and improvisation. He has also written four novels, recorded and produced seven albums of critically-acclaimed music, and is an amateur boxer. He resided and was a signed recording artist in Nashville, Tennessee in the early 90s and has been credited for being an early pioneer of the musical genre called "Cowpunk." In 2017 he appeared on "America's Got Talent" performing his stand-up comedy routine, and has performed stand-out acting roles in movies appearing on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, network television, and in film festivals around the globe.
Berwick's songs have been featured in dozens of movies and television programs. He travelled the nation for decades as a solo musical artist, and with his various bands, while in-between tours working in film and television.
In 2019 through early 2020 Berwick performed as Johnny Cash in his band Folsom, packing clubs and theaters throughout the Midwest with his high-energy tribute to the Man in Black, but Covid put an end to the rest of 2020's bookings, so he put all of his focus back into acting, which he has done on and off since the early 90s, continuing to work in film and on television shows.
Berwick wrapped 2020 with the exhaustive album "TOO COW TO PUNK" Anthology 1976-2019, slated for worldwide release in January 2021, on his own label, Shotgun Records. This comprehensive collection features almost half a century of Berwick's writing and recording, a wild ride through the mind and heart and soul of which many of his critics proclaim as that of a "brilliant songwriter."
At least a dozen of the songs from this collection have been featured in movies and TV, and/or been recorded by other artists on their own records.
This anthology is more than an album--it is a journey through time, from Berwick's early years in the 70s, creating his own unique sound based on his love of country and folk and rock and punk, years before anyone labeled it Cowpunk. And though the victim of his own need to label his style "Cowpunk" for the sake of marketing, Berwick in interviews has always just called it "Songs based on what I'm going through at that moment in time. And what comes out comes out."
He explains how the title for the album came to pass: "Over ten years ago, after one more of thousands of thankless gigs, singing to about six people in Wisconsin at another joint on the road to nowhere, a lady said to me, 'Great show, but I'd say you're more cow than punk.' I kept that comment in my memory bank, and decided to finally cash it in as 2020, the year from hell, came to an end. This release is an anthology of 37 songs that spans songwriting and recording work from 1976-2019, with re-recorded and remastered versions of previous releases, some forgotten basement dwellings, an unreleased gem titled 'Preacher's Kid' from 1989 recorded in Nashville with band members of Steve Earle and Web Wilder, and a truckload of sweat and grime and endless miles of beer-soaked barroom floors. I hope people enjoy listening to many of these songs more than I did in writing them, because a lot of my songs came from places I would rather not revisit, and not hard to read between the lines on that."
"TOO COW TO PUNK" is the heart and soul of hundreds of Pete Berwick compositions, with over eighty landing on seven critically acclaimed albums spanning 1989-2019, as well as dozens more of his innovative compositions featured on six out-of-print album releases from 1976-1987.
"A brilliant songwriter, whose songs walk a line between twang and madness. Too rock for country, too country for rock, for almost half a century Berwick has blazed his own lonely trail, and refuses to go quietly into that good night."--Keith Gordon, author of "The Other Side Of Nashville"
REVIEW OF "TOO COW TO PUNK" BY RPM ONLINE, UK:
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
released December 19, 2020
1) IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE TELLIN' ME
2) SEE YOU IN HELL
3) NUCLEAR BOY
6) ROADKILL BLUES
8) I FOUGHT WITH ANGELS
9) JUST ANOTHER DAY IN HELL
11) I'M REALLY NOT THAT KIND
12) I KEEP WAITING
13) GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE
15) WON'T GIVE IT UP
16) JUST MAKE IT YOU AND ME TONIGHT
17) PREACHER'S KID
18) RUSTED BALL AND CHAIN
19) MUST THINK SHE LOVES ME
20) KEEP YOUR SOCKS ON AND DON'T LOOK DOWN
21) AIN'T NO TRAIN OUTTA NASHVILLE
22) I'M GETTIN' TIRED OF THIS PLACE
23) CAN'T HIDE THE TEARS
25) ONLY BLEEDING
26) WHITE LINES
27) MY HEART IS ON HOLD
28) BUSTED IN KENTUCKY
29) THE STREETS OF PASADENA
30) REBELS AND CADILLACS
31) STANDING AT THE GATES OF HELL
32) THE PROOF IS IN THE WHISKEY
33) HELLO HAND
34) GIVE IT TIME
35) ONE LAST SHOT
37) VACANCY IN MY HEART
All songs copyright Pete Berwick Publishing BMI, Nashville
Album cover photo by Deb Smith