Richard Berman
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Richard Berman


Band Folk Acoustic


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"DJ Remarks"

What DJs are saying about Holding Hands:

In the long-awaited follow-up to his 2001 recording, Storied Lives, Amherst-based singer-songwriter Richard Berman returns with another heart-warming and thought-inspiring set of songs. His 2005 release, Holding Hands, showcases Richard’s flawless and lyrical command of the English language as he examines familial relationships, retrospective observations of a life well-lived, social injustices and the occasional seasoning of humor. Often from a first-person perspective, Richard inhabits a series of different characters, living lives not unlike our own, and telling the stories of their adventures with profound insight. Unlike the growing trend among folk musicians to move into high-end production, Richard keeps it spare; Holding Hands features his gently flowing finger-style guitar work and vocals complimented by a rich array of acoustic instruments and light percussion.
Brian Terhorst Host, Harmony Ridge
KVMR-FM, Nevada City, California
Chair, Board of Directors
National Federation of
Community Broadcasters

Richard Berman's songs are vignettes of the human condition...the beautiful, the ugly, the funny, the poignant, the painful...all crafted with a deft and loving hand.
Joe Angel
Host, Random Routes
KEOS-FM, College Station, Texas

After three decades playing folk music I’m not sure of much but the one thing I can tell you is that the best songs, the songs that get the most listener reactions in the long run are those that tell a simple story. And nobody does that better than Richard Berman. I won’t say that “Holding Hands” is his best album. This is an artist who started out writing songs at the highest level and has never wavered from that standard. I will say that this is his most musically varied album to date. My advice is pick a song from this album, or any of his others for that matter, play it on your show and just watch the phones light up. And don’t be surprised when weeks later you get that most satisfying of calls. “What was that song you played several weeks ago? It’s been haunting me.” Just tell them it was Richard Berman, one of our finest storytelling songwriters. Dave Palmater
Host, Folk Radio
WUMB-FM, Boston, MA

Richard Berman is a tender, intense songwriter with a gentle touch. These songs are an embrace of the strong arm of love.
Marilyn Rea Beyer
Host, Folk Radio & Live at Noon
WUMB-FM, Boston, MA

Unsolicited E-mail:
Richard: I received your CD today and as usual it is just a beautiful piece of poetry---set to music. Like your others, all the pieces are wonderful but there is always one that jumps out at a person. Probably different ones for different people. For me it was "That Old Song "Turn, Turn, Turn". Just beautiful and so touching. I just wanted to let you know personally how much I appreciated the work on this CD. Should you want to use any of my humble comments in publicity please feel free to do that- Bill
Bill Hahn
Producer/Host, “Traditions”
WFDU 89.1FM, Teaneck, NJ
- Various Stations


"Bittersweet" (1992)
"Love, Work and Play" (1996)
"Dreamer" (1998)
"Storied Lives" (2000)
"Holding Hands" (2005)
"Now and Then" (2008)



"This man has the gift." So said the late Utah Phillips, legendary figure in American folk music, after hearing Richard Berman sing at the Kerrville Folk Festival's Ballad Tree in 1992. And Richard has used that gift to write many songs that tell moving, true stories. "Gil’s Song”, the song that prompted Utah Phillip's appraisal, is the tale of a Wyoming sheepherder's one brief attempt at closeness and its consequences. Humor, too, is part of Richard’s performance, as in “Monopoly”, his first-person account of the power of that game on behavior, and “The Kids Are Back”, his take on the latest stage in family development, both songs from Richard’s second CD, Love Work and Play. His third CD, Dreamer, included his first songs of requited love, “A Love Song” and “Here And Now” and the haunting "The Fortune Told". Both Love, Work and Play and Dreamer were chosen “One of the Best Folk Albums” of 1996 and 1998, respectively, by Rich Warren, host of "The Midnight Special" on WFMT in Chicago, the longest continuously running folk radio show in the country. Richard’s Storied Lives won the 2001 Just Plain Folks Award for “Best Traditional Folk” CD. It includes the memorable, ironic story song "On the Mexican Coast", a song featured on the compilation disks Artists for Change and Songs for a Better Planet, Vol.II. 2005 saw the release of Holding Hands which was chosen one of the “Top Ten Albums” of the year by Maggie Ferguson of WXOU and one the eleven “Essential CDs” of 2005 by Bill Hahn of WFDU.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Richard left the city to go to college in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has lived most of his adult life in Amherst, Massachusetts with his wife and two children. Richard received an MSW and worked as a therapist for years with children and families. He has also taught as a classroom teacher in the Amherst public schools. Drawing on his experiences as a husband, therapist, teacher, father and son, he has written songs that impart his understandings of people and their situations in direct and compelling ways.

Richard first received national recognition in folk circles for his work by winning the 1992 Napa Valley Folk Festival's Emerging Songwriters Contest. He went on to win the 1995 South Florida Folk Festival's songwriting contest, was selected to showcase at the 1997 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and was chosen to do so again in 2001. In 1999 Richard won the Sierra Songwriters Festival’s songwriting contest. In 2000 he was a finalist at The Wildflower Festival’s songwriting contest, the winner of the Rose Garden Coffeehouse Songwriting Contest and was chosen to be a finalist in the Kerrville Folk Festival songwriting contest, a selection that was repeated in 2001. In 2003 he won the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival’s songwriting contest. Over the past dozen years Richard has performed in coffeehouses, clubs, festivals and house concerts in the Northeast, the Southwest, and California, and has toured England, Wales and Sweden. Among the clubs he has played at is the Bluebird Café in Nashville, TN, where he was selected to showcase in 1994 and came back to play again in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2009.