Leonard Berg was born on Jan 18, 1949 in Cherokee, IA. He grew up on a farm near Westfield, IA as the middle child of 4 siblings with a loving Mom and Dad. Leonard started his music interest at 8 years old learning to play a plastic flute and then advancing to playing a trumpet that his Dad pushed him into playing. His Dad played an accordion on different occasions with Ray Flood and Lawrence Welk in Sioux Falls SD and Yankton SD. His Dad was never in Welk’s Band. Leonard wanted to learn to play guitar but his Dad was set on him learning to play a Trumpet so he could play with the big bands. After sending his Trumpet flying; because Leonard did not like playing the trumpet, he did not own another instrument until he was 16 years old. That was when Leonard bought his first guitar. At times Leonard would get private guitar lessons from a Classmate; James Weber, which Leonard’s Dad did not know about.
Leonard’s older brother Axel wrote several song when he was a teenager. Around 1963 one of Axels’ songs (Angel by the Brook) was taken to Minneapolis, MN where it was recorded and then later was played on a local radio station in Sioux City, IA. Axel and Leonard would work together on music and songs at times. But being brothers and different ages, they went their separate ways. Leonard’s Dad and older brother were a major influence on his interest in songwriting and music. Later on when Leonard’s older brother Axel; moved to Los Angles California, Axel arranged it so Leonard would play the Palomino Club one evening. There were over 42 performers’ that night at the Palomino Club.
In the early 70"s; Leonard became more dedicated to song writing, with over 220 songs completed as of 2008. He had 13 songs published with Big Wedge Music in Nashville, TN. Leonard played the Palomino club in Los Anglos that his brother Axel had arranged, and he did a country music showdown at the Eagles Club in S. Sioux City, NE, and wrote a song about the people that helped with the United 232 flight that crashed in Sioux City. The song, “The People They All Gathered” was played by the local radio station KMNS for a week. Leonard was there when United 232 crashed, he helped with the emergency and the passengers, and later he was involved with the clean up. Leonard also participated in the making of the movie “Crash Landing: The Rescue of Flight 232” which was about a United DC 10 crash at Sioux City, IA; with Charlton Heston, Richard Thomas, James Coburn and others. While in Panama; Leonard wrote a song about his unit (The 185th), that was used in a documentary used by KCAU tell about the role of the Air Guard in Panama.
Leonard did not perform over the road engagements or play in bars. In 2003 he retired from the Military with a total of over 34 years, which has given him more time to pursue his songwriting and to work new recordings. Leonard at different times would play in jam sessions with his friends. Don Rich who played the Louisiana Hay Ride back in the 60’s; (when he was in the Air Force), was also a major inspiration in Leonard’s songwriting and playing country music. Don Rich is in several of Leonard’s Videos and has played lead in some of Leonard’s songs.
Leonard’s songwriting is more of the old traditional country and the honky tonk style country music. The majority of Leonard’s songs are all original that he lived, someone he knows has lived or just an inspiration of those around him. Leonard has written some Gospel songs and some country ballads. But most of Leonard’s songs are the Hard Core Country music that would have played on the old jukeboxes. Leonard songs come from the heart and soul of Country with a twist of real life added in. Back in the 70’s and 80’s Leonard would send demo tapes to Publishers and Record Labels. Back in the 80’s Big Wedge Music in Nashville, TN, published and contracted 13 of Leonard’s songs. Unfortunately most of the other publishers and recording labels where Leonard would send songs for review; said his songs and music were to Country and they could not use them. Several publishers like Acuff-Rose, Harmony Music, NSAI, Ronnie Milsap and others gave very good advice on what to do or not to do. But just like George Jones and so many other country greats; Leonard did not change his style of songwriting or give in to the pressure to change his style of music.
Another aspect of Leonard’s songwriting is attributed to his travels with the military and the places he has been as a pilot, and solider. Leonard has his Airline Transport Pilot, was a flight instructor for over 20 years, and has flown in different countries like Korea, Belgium, England, Panama, and the state of Hawaii. During his travels Leonard has performed at small gatherings; in the different countries where he was stationed at. Leonard currently does some jamming with friends and associates at his home.
Leonard had several interesting careers along with his songwriting to include. F-16 mechanic, supervisor, truck driver, his own flight school with two airplanes that he owned, the first computerized test center in Sioux City, IA, that was sold to a local college that is still in business today, and several successful businesses.
With the new age of internet and digital downloads, a new market has opened up for the style of music that Leonard and so many others have been writing. With this new market; Leonard currently has a total of 7 new albums live in the different stores and on the internet under his own record label, Berg Records. Leonard’s fan base is growing with more of the younger individuals showing a new appreciating for his style of writing and performance.
Leonard has recently become a member of the CMA- Country Music Association.