photo by Jenn Wertz

As a classical composition evokes emotion and controls its audiences, so does Liz Berlin command the stage. Recognized as an illustrious voice within Island Def Jam's multi-platinum selling group, Rusted Root, Liz's creativity has grown to be a viable force in any project she applies herself to.

Over their twelnty-year history, Liz and Rusted Root have toured the Country with Santana, the Allman Brothers, Joan Osbourne, Sting, Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow, Page and Plant, Jewel, and The Grateful Dead among many others.

They have appeared on numerous national television shows such as David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and VH-1's Hard Rock Live, and their music has been featured in many films and TV shows such as Ice Age, Twister, and various MTV programs. Rusted Root's large and loyal following has proven to be a significant draw regardless of radio play, press or record sales. And their performances have come to be known as somewhat of a celebration.

Liz has recently released her first solo studio album, "AudioBioGraphical". She breaks new ground in this remarkable self produced effort with a solid variety of sounds moving effortlessly through and around genres. Her other CD, "Liz Berlin -Live" is a culmination of three different shows that have been recorded at Mr. Smalls Funhouse & Theatre.

As a solo artist, Liz Berlin's performances are highly anticipated She has performed many shows in the last 10 years, including the H.O.R.D.E. Festival in 1996, the 1997 Lilith Fair, and The Great Blue Heron Festival 2000 in Jamestown, NY. Liz embraces her creativity through personal interaction, intimate songwriting, and her emotionally charged voice. Raised on classical voice training as a child, she has sung with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Opera. This was the beginning of the long and twisted path through the worlds of folk, pop, ethnic, rock, and Rusted Root, through which she has created her own unique artistic style.

At her shows, Liz delivers a truly hypnotic live performance. Her collection of original songs --sometimes tranquil, sometimes funky, sometimes raging-- are written on a very personal level, and her life experiences unfold like chapters in a book. She explores her imagination thoroughly, projecting the fine lines and shadowy corners of her heart and mind with a sensitive intelligence.    Audiences become utterly enchanted by her many voices, spiraling at times from tender and chillingly true, into an elegant wailing decree.

She has put her experience and success to good use in her many other ventures. Liz Berlin is part owner of Mr. Small's Funhouse Recording Studio and Mr. Small's Theatre, located in the de-sanctified Roman Catholic sanctuary (capacity of 550 people with live audio and recording capabilities). Also within the compound are apartments, art studio spaces, residential facilities for visiting recording clients, an art gallery, and a private, enclosed rectory garden. Also, Mr. Small's SkatePark, which has an expansive street course and a 40 x 16 foot Vertical Ramp (from the 2001 X-games).

And Liz is the point person for Creative.Life.Support, a non-profit offshoot of Mr. Smalls, which aims to bring advanced technologies & opportunities in media arts to the hands of aspiring artists, musicians & creative professionals.   Among its activities are a non-profit record label, music & skate camps, an on-going concert series, recording classes and associated artist programs.

For more information on Mr. Smalls and Creative.Life.Support & Creative.Life.Records
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On Liz's album AudioBioGraphical

"The opening act was a surprise, with Rusted Root's Liz Berlin unveiling songs from her forthcoming album "AudioBioGraphical." Long-time fans may be in for a shock. Backed by a trio of sublime local guitarists -- Mike Gaydos, Erik Cirelli and Ford Thurston -- Berlin . . . is pointing to territory that's more riot grrrl than Lilith Fair. She seems more than capable of pulling it off. "
--Rege Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, May 10, 2005

"The range of the music on "AudioBioGraphical" is almost limitless. "Souvenir" is at atmospheric track which features Gaydos applying a range of sounds and textures to the music. "Crazy" blends violin, acoustic guitar, double bass and distorted vocals in an ingratiating mix that resembles one of Beck's songs. And "Ordinary Day," written with Highway 9 guitarist Kevin Ansell, is an alluring, dreamy tune that could be the radio-friendly single of the batch."
--Rege Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, May 20, 2005

"It’s not an exaggeration to say that Liz Berlin is an indie rock legend. As part of the platinum-selling Rusted Root she toured the world and filled arenas. As a solo artist she toured with H.O.R.D.E. and Lilith Fair. And no matter the tour or venue, she has amazed fans and newcomers alike with her profound songwriting skills and abundant voice. Add to that some mean guitar chops, organ twirls and mad production skills and you have the foundation of an amazing second solo release.

"The 10 songs vary in emotional mood from introspective tenderness to full blown apoplexy while also stretching wide the musical boundaries from funk through plodding indie rock to transcendent near-classical sounds. But the single factor that overrides all of that is the intensity of this album. It will overpower from you with its evocative and absorbing reflections of angst, inspiration, inquiry and even faith, humanist and otherwise. . . the first song of the album (is) “Love You.” The slinky sound of this song is bulked up by the heavy lyrics and incisive guitars which paint a picture of desperate connectivity, or lack thereof. Next up is “Monster.” This plodding and spooky song is deliciously wicked and agitated. Liz’ obsessive vocals howl at top form, battling rhythmic bass eruptions and layered musical exasperation. Just listen to the opening lines as they bleed out of the static-filled introduction: “I’m gonna take this book and rewrite it my way…” . . . “Crazy” starts with some Richie Haven-esque strumming and a mournful violin that pleads with the listener to listen closely. The muted vocals are unexplainably powerful and intimate as she frantically spews lyrics and then drops into a soft bridge: “we were meant to be free…here’s the first step. You can only dig through and reshape it piece by piece…try…is it possible?” And then it explodes into another frenzied dirge. . . "
By Dave Terpeny,, June 5, 2005

"Only partly surprising, Berlin's solo work sounds nothing like that of Rusted Root -- it's funkier, jazzier and more personal. Throughout the album, Berlin's smooth voice will remind you of Alannah Myles (remember "Black Velvet"?) and Sarah McLachlan. . . Berlin's creativity is evident throughout AudioBioGraphical -- she clearly needed to express a smoother side, with more personal touches. Berlin uses her artistic freedom well, experimenting with vocal/guitar combinations, all the while bringing in plenty of collaborators to enhance the musical experience."
--Kaitlin Wingard, The Pitt News, May 18, 2005

""AudioBioGraphical" is a 10-song effort that showcases Berlin's often smoky, seductive vocals, as well as her previously untapped songwriting abilities. "
--Jaime McLeod, News Record Weekender, May 14, 2005

On Liz -live:

"Liz played five very intense songs that moved through themes of survival and healing. . . people walked up the muddy hill near the Village to hear her sing. A favourite song was "Moon" which Liz dedicated to the Women's Resource Centre . . ."

"At this point, other vocalist/percussionist Liz Berlin started her own thing too. The Liz Berlin Band was built around her own broad musical capabilities."
--Cindy Yogmas, Pulp Magazine

"Local icons Liz Berlin and Phat Man Dee will be performing together for the first time . . . They have so much talent between them that their powers extend beyond good . . ."
--Sara Ginsburg, Pulp Magazine

On Liz and Mr. Smalls:

Performing Songwriter Magazine
Issue 71, July/August 2003

"It’s a dream of many a local musician: go on tour, make lots of money, and then leave your podunk town and buy a place in Malibu, Manhattan, Maui or your paradise of choice. But for Liz Berlin, coming back to her native Pittsburgh just felt right. . . ."
Click here to read the full article
Click here to buy this issue

"Berlin is the point person for the non-profit side of the business. In one Creative Life Support program, she teaches recording techniques to kids from Peabody High School and helps them record hip-hop and R&B demos. Another program bankrolls album projects for local bands, asking members to chip in on the front-end costs and repay the company in increments as they sell their CDs."
--John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

On Liz elsewhere:

With that, Weir joined his Ratdog bandmates for a set that included the Dead's "Sugar Magnolia," "Help on the Way," and "Franklin's Tower." As the latter segued into the Dead staple "Lovelight," many of the nights performers -- including Anastasio, Randolph, Popper, Gordon, Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule/Allman Brothers Band), DJ Logic, moe.'s Al Schnier, Gov't Mule drummer Matt Abts, and Rusted Root's Liz Berlin, among others -- returned to Roseland's two stages to join in on that and the evening's closer, a rendition of Van Morrison's "Gloria.
--Wes Orshoski, October 4th, 2002 - Billboard

On Liz with Rusted Root:

“Other standout songs include the playful reggae of Liz Berlin's "Too Much,"

“. . . and Liz Berlin's contributions as an ethereal, backup vocalist can not be overstated. The band's 1994 major label debut was one of the best of the year and has gone to sell an impressive million-plus copies (platinum).”
--Jim Harrington, Palo Alto Weekly

“Liz Berlin, who complements Mike Glabicki's lead vocals on a number of tracks, finally gets her due singing the lead on "Moon." Berlin's strong vocal performance adds another level of diversity to the album. However, these moments are too far and few between to satisfy the cult following that Rusted Root have gained through years of touring.”
-- Erik Crawford, All Music Guide

On the superb “Faith I Do Believe,” however, the soaring backing vocals of Liz Berlin achieved a greater prominence in the live mix. Berlin deserves a larger role as relief to Glabicki and his trademark yodel.”

“You may ask yourself, "Why is Berlin always in the background?" Good question, avid fan. Berlin has such a beautiful voice it is a surprise that she is not the lead vocalist on more of these songs. While she does an excellent job on the don't-worry-be-happy Caribbean-flavored "Too Much," she appears as a prominent figure on the album - make that any Rusted Root album - too few times. Berlin is the very thing that brings the appeal of Rusted Root to an extraordinary level. She has such a breathtaking voice on Rusted Root's "Moon" and Welcome to My Party's "Too Much" that maybe the band should consider giving her a few more opportunities to shine.”
--Lena Basha, Vanderbilt Hustler

On the Liz Berlin & Jenn Wertz Duo:

“These two actually have quite different voices. Wertz has a more smoky, bluesy style, while Wertz' emotionally charged voice has a more classically beautiful tone. Together, though, they've developed a strong blend through their years with Rusted Root, interweaving voices like masters.”
--Dave Richards, Rock Erie

“Jenn and Liz were both still just as compelling and energetic as they are playing to much larger audiences. These two have such strong stage presences that just seemed to be enhanced by the intimate setting. The more than an hour set was marked with many highpoints as the set moved from Liz & Jenn sharing vocals to Jenn solo to Liz solo…all intertwined.”
--Scott Hamilton, EMPYRE Lounge

For more interviews & features go to the Highlights page.