Bruce Bherman is a Euro singer songwriter with British roots, hailing from the coastal city of Ostend. Between 1999 and 2016 he released eight albums and several ep’s, which all came out on his own AKR imprint and were steeped in rock, folk and even laptop electronica. Bherman may be regarded as a musical omnivore as his formative influences range from French sixties pop to the American West coast sound. His work references both leftfield rock icons (Eno, John Cale, Zappa, Beefheart..) and seminal British folk figures (Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, John Martyn). So it is only fitting that his previous LP was called ‘Chameleon’.
In the last decade, Bherman began crossing the Atlantic several times a year, moving back and forth between New York City, Nashville and Brussels. In the process he became a regular of the Nashville music scene, where he built connections with local musicians. His double album ‘Untagged Friends’, which saw the light in 2010, was partly recorded in Tennessee’s music city nr.1 and featured Lambchop veterans Kurt Wagner, Tony Crow, multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs (right hand man of country star Marty Stuart) and banjo player Roy Agee, who can be heard in recordings by, among others, Delbert McClinton and Garth Brooks.
A year later Bruce collaborated with gospel singers The McCrary Sisters and released a dvd, featuring both keyboardist Tony Crow (Lambchop, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) and drummer Marc Pisapia (Josh Rouse, Reeves Gabrels)
In the meantime, to Bruce, Nashville has become a home away from home. No wonder it is also the place where his latest effort, ‘The Nashville Sessions’, was cut. In fact, the album, recorded almost exclusively with the assistance of local singers and musicians, might be viewed as an alternative ‘best of’ collection. It contains radically reshaped versions of thirteen songs taken from his back catalogue. Even though Bherman’s material has always had a pronounced European feel, it has now been enriched with some American flavours.
On Bruce Bherman’s new recording, the golden voices of the McCrary sisters are all over the place, while their sibling Allen lends his voice to ‘Foolish’. Apart from those who already appeared on ‘Untagged Friends’, the album features a number of guests who, in the past, contributed to albums by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Jack White, Roy Orbison or Calexico, just to name a few. It goes without saying that to listen to ‘The Nashville Sessions’ means to luxuriate in the presence of greatness.
Dirk Steenhaut > Knack, Humo