Oregon-based Colorado-raised artist Berkley presents ‘Pueblo Nights’, the first single from his debut full-length album ‘Pueblo’, forthcoming via Big Secret Records. Making sense of what remains of youth in adulthood – opportunity, regret, and empathy – is where Berkley stakes his claim among current Portland songwriters.
With straightforward laidback pop grooves driven by shaky electric guitar tones and chiming keyboards, Pueblo Nights explores themes of memory, youth, and growth in Berkley’s hometown of Pueblo, Colorado.
Berkley is the musical moniker of Andrew Jones, a notable recording engineer who now channels his production and songwriting talents into this project. After exploring broad musical territory from recording with former Cher bassist and ASCAP award winner Bob Parr to 2016’s power pop collaboration with members of The Offspring to 2017’s “gorgeous” (AV Club) synthesizer project Sound for Bombs, Jones decided to sharpen his focus on electronic elements and pop song forms.
Set at a tempo best for nighttime drives and backed up by members of the Austin-based band Watering, ‘Pueblo Nights’ recalls being in young dumb love in a small city’s punk rock and heavy metal music scene. Berkley sets the tone using the everyday poetics of Hal David with a modern spin: Pueblo nights / everything’s alright / I don’t wanna fight/or place the blame.
“When I wrote this song, I thought it was about the fear of running into someone who doesn’t like you, and wishing that going home didn’t have to hold so much tension. But living with ‘Pueblo Nights’ showed that the tension can come from potentially seeing someone you used to love. Will that ever be okay?” says Andrew Jones.
With one foot in Then and the other in Now, ‘Pueblo Nights’ relays a youthful anxiety any past, present, or future teen could relate to. But Berkley reckons each memory with an adult’s perspective, crafting pop hooks and space cowboy riffs along the way: Would it feel the same if we never met until today / would we still say all those awful things?
After touring in his own punk and metal bands through his teens and early 20s, Andrew Jones dipped his toe in the Los Angeles songwriting scene, ultimately finding himself among a team of writers developing early ideas for Michael Jackson’s comeback album.
Following Jackson’s death, Jones reevaluated his path in music and stopped writing and performing for three years while he taught university writing and literature. Jones’ muses returned in 2010 when he quit his teaching job to immerse himself in jazz guitar studies and rekindle his relationship with music and his primary instrument.
In Berkley, Jones has found a palatable recipe for his wide range of influences and a renewed outlook on writing and performing.
As of July 10, ‘Pueblo Nights’ is available via Bandcamp, where the ‘Pueblo’ LP is available for pre-order. Set for release on September 1, it is available on CD and vinyl. The first 100 come in a random color (brown, army green, gray, or purple). It also includes exclusive audio from vintage Pueblo KDZA broadcasts and field recordings captured in Pueblo locales significant to Berkley’s life. A seamless listening experience track to track, side per side – this is how Pueblo is meant to be heard.
Music and lyrics by Andrew Jones aka Berkley
Berkley – vocals, guitars, keyboards, piano
Jasper Johnson – bass
Bob Cummins Jr. – piano
Ramon Muzquiz – drums, percussion
Recorded at Echo Lab in Denton, TX
Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Andrew Jones
Additional recording at Huge Planet, Nashville, TN by Jake Davis
Field recording in Pueblo, CO by Andrew Jones and Josh Knobbs “Factor”
Cover layout and design by Dan Gremminger
Single cover photo by Sean Beeman
Artist photos taken by Juli Williams