Bert Sperling is a singer-songwriter who used to sing in a country band in Portland. He also recently appeared on a compilation that was a tribute to George Jones. His new album Renaissance isn't a pure country album, but you certainly get a good taste of his country background with some of these songs.
One of those songs is "Every Morning" - a song with the classic-country theme about drinking too much and the regret that can go with it. The song begins with the lament of a lot of drinkers - that every morning you think you should stop drinking. The trouble is that the resolve to quit drinking is frequently short-lived. The same is the case in this song. Sperling's vocals are filled with ache and regret as he sings about the cycle of drinking and regret. It's an amazing song that is especially powerful for anyone who has ever said he or she wants to quit drinking.
"Life without Love" is another song where Sperling's country background comes through. Thematically it's definitely a country song - with lyrics about being alone and crying because a certain someone is gone. Even Sperling's vocals are what you'd expect from a country song.That being said, you can't really call it a country song. There is a lot going on here, and it's certainly more complex than any song you'll hear on a country-radio station.
"Let Her Go" is one of those songs that makes you take notice. It features just Sperling's vocals and a piano, which makes the song hit even harder. It's hard not to think about the early songs of Tom Waits when you hear this one. Yes, it's that good. Another song that falls into that category is the closer "Walking in the Sun". It's one of the songs that show Sperling's talent as a songwriter. It also shows that he is pretty adept at creating songs even with no band behind him.
Renaissance is an impressive album although it is difficult to classify. Sperling has obvious talent as a songwriter and storyteller - and that is probably the best way to describe this album. It is quite simply an album of 12 well-written songs. He has created an album that is pensive and feels a bit like he is singing thoughts from his journal (assuming he keeps one). It's rare that that an artist can create an album that feels as personal as this one. Renaissance will be available on June 24.