The concert paring is the result of a long friendship. “We’ve known each other since 1995 when the two of us toured together in the wake of his album “Perfect World” and my “Garage Orchestra” disc. According to Berryhill, any rivalries in the race to hit the charts were friendly.
“Funny enough we were both reviewed in the same issue of Rolling Stone. His album got 4 stars and mine got 3 ½ stars. I loved his album, but musicians do a have a slight ego,” she joked. “I mean I loved his album, but I love mine too.” After all that, years later she received some good news on the subject. “When Rolling Stone posted their online archive of reviews, my album was bumped up to 4 stars. I asked their editor David Fricke about it and he just said, “I guess it was supposed to be that,” she laughed.
Despite the success of her current album, Berryhill is letting music take a slight back seat as she prepares to send her son, Alexander, off to college. “It’s a pretty heavy year of transition, so I wait for when the muse talks to me,” she said. “So, right now I am in a fallow period, but I do play music every day.”
Notably she works as a guitar teacher at Carlsbad Village Music. Does she miss recording and touring right now? “Not really. Even when I am busy it’s not like I play gigs all the time,” she said. “The way I see it, you need that down time occasionally. You start with fallow land. That’s the time that you plant seeds and things start to grow, Berryhill remarked.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot of her music released in the next year. Her label, Omnivore Records will be reissuing her earlier works, beginning with “Garage Orchestra” in August and “Straight Outta Marysville” in 2019. “This is going to great,” Berryhill enthused. “The albums are being reissued with redone booklets, updated writing and lots of bonus tracks.” Look for a special album release event this fall, with the original musicians on the recordings taking part.
She acknowledges making a living in music is tough, but she notes small things often lead to bigger things. “The check is always in the mail” Berryhill joked. “It can be hard to pay rent. But the new album did really well, with a lot of great shows and more importantly it led to the next step, which is ‘let’s get those records out there again that are relatable to it.”
After decades in music, Berryhill is clear about what she enjoys most. “It’s the communal aspect,” she mused. “It’s the sharing with friends, it’s the passing on of the music to young people.” She pauses. “I always have the lack of feeling of belonging, but when I go to a show, whether I’m watching an artist or performing myself, I know I’m in my community,” she said.
Cindy Lee Berryhill & Freedy Johnston: Friday, March 8 at Point Loma Assembly, 3035 Talbot St. 7:30 p.m. All ages. pointlomaassembly.org.