Johnny Bertram and The Golden Bicycles
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Johnny Bertram and The Golden Bicycles

Jackson, Mississippi, United States | INDIE

Jackson, Mississippi, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"At The Wake"

Johnny Bertram's self-titled EP is a collection of warm, southern folk with vintage keys, smooth harmonies, and relaxed drum beats. Bertram's gentle vocals are reminiscent of Iron and Wine or Sufjan Stevens.

Bertram's song "At the Wake" features low, distorted keys and intimate lyrics on loss and death. On "The Plow", Bertram ends the CD with a gospel country feel singing, "like the night will turn to day / like the plow will clear the way / He'll wash your sins away".

While Bertram has lived and performed in Boise and Portland, he now resides and records at a home studio in Jackson, Miss. He also plays in the electronic pop rock band Synthar. The group's members are spread out over New York City, Seattle, and Shaoxing, China. - NPR

"Johnny Bertram"

Fellow Jacksonian by way of Portland by way of Idaho, Johnny Bertram, and his 5-piece band recently released their new album, Days That Passed, back in late April via Jackson's own Esperanza Plantation. This record combines a nice blend of the Northwest with the familiar sound of our great state. Johnny has been playing a lot around the Jackson scene this past year, and I've had the pleasure of seeing him live multiple times and it's been great. I'm glad to finally have a recorded version of the songs I've been enjoying at his shows. You can buy the album anywhere on the web and at BeBop. Be sure to come check him out this Saturday, May 8th at Hal & Mal's playing with Horse Trailer. He's also been featured this week on WeAreHunted as the #11 and #13 out 99 of the most popular emerging songs in the world, which is incredible to see. Posted below are a couple tracks off the record and a video of him performing at the first Jackson Impromptu Concert Series back in March.
- Grit Music

"Meet Johnny Bertram and The Golden Bicycles"

Bertram writes laid-back songs steeped in 70s cool, but he arranges them in orchestral americana settings. So, y'know, if Gram Parsons had been in an acoustic version of Steely Dan or something.

I'm speaking of a general musical feel, of course. Bertram's vocals aren't as distinctive as Parsons's (whose are?), but they fit his songs perfectly. The organ, strings and occasional horns fill out the largely acoustic sound quite well.

And these songs do roll. I suppose that it's possible for someone to listen to a song from this album and yawn, but I can't imagine that happening. The off-handed delivery underlies some serious playing. Bertram isn't afraid to let his band get its licks in, and the results are generally combustible.

Thoroughly enjoyable. This album instantly grabbed on to my ears and did not let go. A real wowser. If folks don't know Bertram now, they will quite soon. - Aiding & Abetting

"Like a woodpecker with a Lazy Saturday"

Happily, I just got turned on to some killer new stuff working in the number five wheelhouse. "At the Wake," from Johnny Bertram and the Golden Bicycles (excellent name for a band, by the way) is going to knock your socks off. Wait for the orchestral surge at the three-quarters mark. It's soft, it's insiduously catchy, and I am really stoked to listen to the rest of the record. More on these cats in the weeks to come, no doubt, but, for now, enjoy letting this one wash over your ear holes. - Citizen Dick

"Plus The Kitchen Sink"

If I didn't know better, I would swear there is a secret highway that leads directly from Jackson to Portland, Ore. In the last couple of years, several Jacksonians have made an exodus to Portland—artists, musicians, writers, even a dentist I know. The lane northwest to Portland is wider than the lane heading southward, but some still choose to return to Jackson, bringing with them more creativity than when they left.

"Both (Portland and Jackson) have been really inspiring for me," singer-songwriter and former Portland resident Johnny Bertram says. He recorded his new album, "Days that Passed," at his home near North Midtown Arts Center (formerly known as One-to-One Studios) on Millsaps Avenue with Andrew Best, who also played with Bertram in one of his former side projects, Synthar. Bertram says the artists and musicians who live and work around him in the Millsaps Art District constantly inspire him.

"Days that Passed" is Bertram's first full-length release on Esperanza Plantation Records after putting out an EP, "Sing Your Song," the summer of 2009. His band on "Days that Passed," The Golden Bicycles, are Tyler Tadlock on drums; Jamie Weems on mandolin; brother Luke Bertram on guitar, bass and vocals; and Best on horn, accordion, organ and just about any other random instrument found on the album.

"We really threw the kitchen sink at it," Bertram says of the record's multiple layers of instrumentation. "We had so much fun … we actually had to cut some things out."

Songs like "Great Divide" combine the usual guitar-bass-drum ensemble with the unique flavors of banjo, accordion and horns. The result is a full, warm sound that never gets old, because there is something new to listen to each time.

Bertram did the bulk of his songwriting for "Days that Passed" during his time in Mississippi, and some familiar places pop up on the album. The Calexico-esque "Fortification" kicks off with a dramatic Spanish flair before launching into a straight-ahead folk-rock sound with an impressive mandolin lead and a rumbling drumbeat reminiscent of a drive down the Jackson street of the same name. "Rocky Springs," a bittersweet tune about holding on to the past, contains a super-catchy horn/vocal bit that catapults the song to earworm status, but it's a tune anyone would be glad to hum all day long.

Originally from Boise, Idaho, Bertram could be compared to fellow Idahoans Built to Spill; he's had the band's latest, "There is No Enemy," on heavy rotation. Just as BTS changed its lineup over the years, Bertram can be found playing with different musicians and in different genres. His current side project, Horse Trailer, brings together prolific Jacksonians Taylor Hildebrand, Bryan Ledford, Dave Hutchison, Valley Magee and Jamie Weems for high-energy acoustic rock. "It's basically each of us playing our own songs, together," he explains.

When asked if he thinks a musician can be successful while remaining in Mississippi, Bertram is positive: "I want to think it is possible. … (It depends) on how feasible it is to load up in a van and travel around, which is the same no matter where you live," he says.

Jackson got a sneak preview of "Days That Passed" before Christmas, but until March the album is only available at the band's shows and at Old House Depot. The rest of the world has to wait until March, when it will be available on iTunes and the Esperanza Plantation Web site ( for download. - Jackson Free Press

"My Morning Download 4/29/10 – Johnny Betram and The Golden Bicycles"

Johnny Bertram and The Golden Bicycles is a five piece band from Jackson, Mississippi. Singer-songwriter Bertram is originally from Portland and moved to Jackson and the band recently released their album Days That Passed on Esperanza Plantation records. Bertram has his own clean & cutting tenor and his songs combine the the rustic vibe of the Northwest with the Southern twang of the Mississippi capitol named for the 7th President of the United States. Bertram fits in to the continuum of new singer-songwriters like M. Ward, Jim James, Ray Lamontagne and Josh Ritter, yet brings his own unique sense of storytelling to the proceedings. Here’s a couple of tunes; however buy the record – it’s a charm of a terrific young talent to discover. - WXPN (Philadelphia)

"Johnny Bertram album released tomorrow"

We’ve already posted the quite excellent Private Land, the first track from the new Johnny Bertram & The Golden Bicycles album Days That Passed, which gets its official release tomorrow.

To mark the occasion they have made a second track available titled At The Wake. This track offers a nice contrast to the full on rock and roll of Private Land and shows exactly why this record is deserving of your ears. It is a seamlessly enjoyable blend of Americana, indie rock and acoustics that doesn’t put a foot wrong across the whole 12 tracks. - The Mad Mackerel

"Johnny Bertram & The Golden Bicycles: Days That Passed"

Fire Drill Review:
Johnny Bertram currently lives in Mississippi but he is originally from the Pacific Northwest and his debut record with The Golden Bicycles, Days That Passed, has plenty of lush soundscapes normally found in his former territory. How the album differs some from the Death Cabs, Built To Spills and Pedro The Lions is its solo angle as Bertram guides each song with his colorful and upbeat personality. This provides Days That Pass with elements of surprise, which include some Spanish flare on "Fortification", country picking on "Private Land" and horns on "Great Divide". All of this offers a very diverse but yet focused sound that is unique but familiar as Johnny Bertram & The Golden Bicycles give you a solid listen all the way through!

Key Track: "Private Land"

Band With Similar Fire: The Decemberists - The Fire Note

"Days That Passed"

Johnny Bertram & the Golden Bicycles favor faded, monochromatic photographs taken of a Death Valley-like terrain around the turn of the 20th century for the front and back covers of their debut full-length album, Days That Passed, signaling that Bertram's songs and the group's arrangements have a nostalgic, Western feel. Bertram sings in a calm, vulnerable tenor, his lyrics evoking sad stories of people living on the margins, as the group creates shimmering, country-tinged pop/rock music featuring banjo, mandolin, violin, accordion, and various keyboards. It's a sweet, melodic sound that may remind listeners of the calmer aspects of the Band or Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. - All Music

"Top Pick : Johnny Bertram and The Golden Bicycles"

The debut full-length release from Johnny Bertram & The Golden Bicycles. Bertram currently resides in Mississippi...but our guess is that the response to this disc will be so strong that he will probably consider relocating. Days That Passed features cool, subdued, organic modern folky pop tunes with extremely strong melodies and cool understated arrangements. Backing Bertram on this album are Andrew Best, Tyler Tadlock, Jamie Weems, Luke Bertram, Matthew Magee, Matt Basinger, and Jonathan Scarborough. Despite the fact that there are numerous varied instruments used in recording these tunes the songs never come across sounding overproduced. At the center of the music are Johnny's super smooth, super sincere sounding vocals. This guy has a voice that's as velvety smooth as cream cheese in the summer breeze. In the 1970s this would have been in instant hit. In 2010...we can only hope there are enough people paying attention to offer this man the support he so obviously deserves. Modern folk/pop classics include "Where I Begin," "Fortification," "The Fall," and "Great Divide." Top pick. - Baby Sue

"Tonight in Music: Johnny Bertram and The Golden Bicycles"

Johnny Bertram is a real diamond in the rough. Those who are lucky enough to cross paths with his music should consider themselves fortunate. He can be categorized as one part Midwest folk and another part modern Americana. His gift comes in his ability to transcend the boundaries of heavily acoustic guitar inspired tunes and reach new depths with his crisp vocal approach and well crafted lyrics. Fans of Bon Iver’s clever storytelling or San Francisco based Vetiver’s calming qualities will feel right at home with Bertram. His collection of songs are easily digestible and warrant repeat listens. It also helps that his bandmates have the chops and experience to bring his visions to life. They’ve refined the balancing act of backing off when needed to showcase just Bertram with his guitar and at other times going full force into a rumpus jam. It can be a delicate line, but the band does a fine job of knowing when to fully commit to a song and when to lay low. It’s not certain when Bertram and company will be back in the pacific northwest again so don’t miss this opportunity to see them. - Seattle Show Gal

"Johnny Bertram’s Days That Passed"

Take one part growing up in Idaho, add a dash of Portland, Oregon, and mix together with a healthy dose of Mississippi living. This is the recipe that’s led to the creation of the debut full-length album from Johnny Bertram and his band The Golden Bicycles. Blending together the indie folk-rock sounds of the Pacific Northwest with the southern country rock roots of the Mississippi, Days That Passed is a rocking good album.

Transplanted into Jackson, Mississippi from Idaho, Bertram continues the Northwestern indie tradition of musical innovation by introducing elements of the Deep South into his tales of Americana. His modest and simple rustic folk-rock stylings have earned him recognition with his first two EPs, and Days That Passed cements him as an emerging singer-songwriter talent.

Johnny Bertram’s voice is a pleasure to listen to. His clear tenor is steeped with a sad vulnerability, evoking a certain poignancy with his songs of people living through tough times. Combined with his acoustic guitar, there is something Jack Johnson-like about his singing, but without Jackson’s trademark cloying tweeness.

His writing too suggests an honest picture of Americana and of those living on the margins. The album uses faded, monochromatic photos taken of a Death Valley-like terrain around the turn of the 20th century for its covers, and Bertram’s writing seems to be attempting to reflect this imagery. Stark with a bleak and subtle beauty, the writing does come close to achieving this goal, however it does fall a little short of the grandeur of the photos.

Bertram says of his writing style:

I write in a lot of different ways. Usually, though, I will get an idea for a song and just focus on it for a while. I’m not very anal about what comes out so usually the songs I write are just an outflowing of random things I’ve been thinking about or experiencing. I love melodies and usually base my songs on melodies that develop in my head.

His band complements the usual guitar-drum-bass ensemble with the addition of the unique sounds of banjos, organs, accordions, et al, and the gentle touches of these instruments adds to the depth of the album’s songs. Although The Golden Bicycles were contributors to the making of the album, the production and arrangement of their playing does make them feel as if they’re just a backing band. They complement Bertram’s vocals and acoustic guitar well, but don’t really establish themselves above that. This, however, is a side issue and does not detract from the quality of the music and overall album.

When all the elements of the album are brought together, the listener is presented with an uncomplicated, nostalgic feel. The folk-rock primary theme, painted with splashes of southern country rock, hearkens back to the days of The Band or the Eagles, but brought forward and refreshed for the modern age.
- Battlemouth

"Album Review: Johnny Bertram and the Golden Bicycles - Days that Passed"

On their debut, Johnny Bertram and the Golden Bicycles combine the sounds of the northwest with those of the deep south trying to end up somewhere in between (the Colorado/Utah border?). They occasionally strike a great balance, but spend most of the record drifting back and forth between the two regional styles.

The record opens with the two most stylistically balanced tracks, “Where I Begin” and “Fortification.” Both sound distinctly western and are full of momentum. Then comes “Private Land” that firmly brings the record back south. Its nimble guitar playing and clever political lyrics make it one of the better songs on Days that Passed.

The back half of the album is quieter (with the exception of rocker “The Fall”) and draws on Bertram’s experience as a singer/songwriter. Many of the songs feel like fleshed out versions of his solo work and have a peaceful sound.

Bertram sings in a very pleasant tenor, but it’s got a clean and distant quality that makes it so he has to rely on other instruments to convey the deeper emotions. On “Alive,” the stellar downtrodden closer, Bertram sings, “You said that you were tired of being alive” and the weight of the line doesn’t hit until the mournful harmonica comes in after his vocals.

Days that Passed is a solid first outing that covers a lot of ground. The band is still searching for that perfect mix of styles, but there are glimpses here that point to a promising future. - Triangle Music

"Johnny Bertram & The Golden Bicycles: Days That Passed [Album Review]"

The 1970’s still conjure up a lot of inspiration these days. The indie rock and Americana explosion of the last decade has not been entirely original. There is always someone else to draw from. In the case of Johnny Bertram, it appears as though his roots in Idaho, and his current residency in Mississippi, have had more than just a regional blessing on his own special concoction of modern folk and rockabilly on his debut full length album, Days That Passed, featuring his brilliant backup band The Golden Bicycles.

“Private Land” is comparable in so many ways to early Neil Young, before his days with Crosby. It has a high glow of electricity that consummates a perfectly trimmed sense of self-righteousness every time he pronounces “we don’t give a damn”. But, old Johnny isn’t too eccentric to break it down into a slow groove with tracks like “At The Wake” or “Alive”. The compassionate side of America that we all wish would show its distinguishable face can be found on tracks like these. Harmonicas and fiddles spew their comforting sounds throughout these simple melodies, and they do so throughout the entirety of Days That Passed.

Johnny Bertram is quite the musician. But, his songwriting should not go unnoticed. These tracks speak of a life that most of us will never know. He speaks of pain and horrific incidents that, for your E-Z chair, you watch on your LCD television hoping the world doesn’t shit on you as bad as it has on others. But he also speaks of hope. He speaks of breath. And he speaks with ease. For Bertram to be able to spread these words with such a brilliant backup band has to make him feel like one a lucky flower child lost in time. - Fence Post


Indie rock singer/songwriter Johnny Bertram was born in Boise, ID, and moved to Jackson, MS, in 2005. He recorded two solo EPs, "Live from My Bedroom" and "Johnny Bertram", before founding his backup band, the Golden Bicycles. They signed to the Esperanza Plantation label, which released their debut EP, Sing Your Song, on August 19, 2009. A full-length LP, Days That Passed, followed on April 27, 2010.

Upon the release of "Days that Passed" two of the LP's tracks reached #11 and #13 on the popular emerging artist online charting site "we are hunted" (



A Boise, Idaho transplant, Johnny Bertram sonically channels the influences of the Pacific Northwest’s musical forebears (think Pedro the Lion, The Decemberists, Built to Spill) in his acoustic-based songwriting. A Mississippi resident for the past five years, his songs are steeped in indie-rock and Americana and filtered through a Deep South lens that generates an interesting perspective and sound.

Bertram follows the success of his 2009 EP Sing Your Song with this debut full-length release, which expands upon the sonic palette of his debut EP with the assistance of his full backing band, The Golden Bicycles. From the trickling acoustic of “Rocky Springs” and lament of “At The Wake“, to the political romp-and-roll of “Private Land“, Bertram cements himself as a powerful member of the new Deep South storytelling regime. This debut sets the stage for a new artist with so much to say