It’s the typical story: boy meets girl in high school, they play in folk bands, they marry, then divorce and form a fresh guitar/accordion duo, producing songs that are being sung by amateurs and professionals all over the world. OK, perhaps it’s not typical. But then there is very little that is conventional about Lou and Peter Berryman. Frequent comparisons to Will Rogers and Dorothy Parker, and Burns & Allen notwithstanding, these two are originals, melding midwestern culture with street smart savvy.
Lou & Peter have a songwriting style that is a welcomed throwback to the days of Tin Pan Alley, where one wrote the words, the other the music, all with complete devotion to the craft. But when it comes to the craft of composing songs they have redefined subject and device and their unusual take on the world has led to creations that are unlike any others. They are admired by, not only thousands of music fans, but by some of our greatest living songwriters.
In their more than 30 years together, Lou & Peter have recorded 17 albums of their original songs, and produced 3 songbooks. Such venerable and prestigious venues as Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage, The Old Town School of Music in Chicago, The Ark in Ann Arbor, New York’s Caffe Lena and Passim in Cambridge have hosted them regularly. They have performed frequently on national public radio including Minnesota’s A Prairie Home Companion, and they have played at most major folk festivals across North America. They tour throughout the year, and make their homes in Madison, Wisconsin.
Originality and invention pervades the careers of these two, as, in addition to writing words and music, they run their own mom-and-pop musical enterprise, handling booking and tour arrangements, scheduling, promotion, recording, artwork, layout and record distribution themselves.
Rhymes that rhyme! I love your stuff, and if I were still performing, I’d steal it!... Tom Lehrer
When it comes to being funny, I think I’ve spent the first thirty years trying to be as funny as Tom Lehrer and the last part will be trying to be as funny as the Berrymans. They don’t come any funnier than that... Tom Paxton
Lou & Peter Berryman! Long may they wave! Their song, "A Chat with your Mother" is one of the great American folksongs of the 20th century... Pete Seeger
To my utter delight and surprise, on a dreary Sunday night in February, I had to argue, elbow, and shoehorn my way into my own cabaret in Greenwich Village (the Cornelia Street Cafe), because a staggering number of hip, witty, and jaded New Yorkers had beaten me to it, and were laughing their heads off at two middle-aged guitar- and accordion-toting rubes from somewhere beginning with M (Milwaukee? Missouri? Minnesota?) who, it transpired, were smarter, hipper, wittier, but decidely less jaded, than their audience, who could carry a tune (and sometimes more than one at the same time) and sidle up to subjects as diverse as housepainting and nuclear proliferation (sometimes in the same song) without ever preaching or losing a lust for language and an appetite for a range of human experience that most New Yorkers can only marvel at and pine for, and all with a sophistication and rhyme scheme that might have provoked Ogden Nash or Noel Coward into trying on a cowboy hat... Robin Hirsch The Cornelia St. Cafe 212-989-9319 ROBHIRSCH@aol.com