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
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. "
"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."
"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. . . "
"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."
""AudioBioGraphical" is a 10-song effort that showcases Berlin's often smoky, seductive vocals, as well as her previously untapped songwriting abilities. "
On Liz -live:
On Liz and Mr. Smalls:
Performing Songwriter Magazine
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. . . ."
"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."
Liz with Rusted Root:
On the Liz Berlin & Jenn Wertz Duo:
For more interviews & features go to the Highlights page.