Anti-folk...what exactly is it? To be honest, I don't have a folking clue, but I (mostly) know it when I hear it - and Cindy Lee Berryhill is it!
The first song I ever heard of hers was Unknown Master Painter from the 1996 album Straight Outta Marysville. I accidentally recorded it off the radio and I was so entranced by her ability to hold my attention completely with her subtle sibilance that I spent the next 5 years or so trying to find out anything I could about her. With little success. Actually that's being generous. I failed abjectly and it was only when I finally got hold of the internet that I found out more.
Cindy Lee Berryhill - Unknown Master Painter mp3 (available for 7 days)
Cindy Lee Berryhill came to the attention of the music world with her 1987 debut album Who's Gonna Save The World? and its perceptively witty song about gender-based double standards Damn, I Wish I Was A Man ("I'd be sexy with a belly like Jack Nicholson"), which is far funnier and less earnest than I've made it sound!
Before she was introduced to the music of Brian Wilson (which became a big influence to her), Berryhill was in a punk band called The Stoopids. During that time she had a breakdown and stepped back from music for a few years, afraid that punk music had contributed to her struggle. When she got up the courage to start playing again, she was writing cathartic songs to help her move on from the experience, and she stepped out into the California acoustic anti-folk scene.
Cindy Lee Berryhill - Jane And John mp3 (available for 7 days)
Nowadays, Berryhill has moved on from anti-folk to anti-country (a perfect example of this can be heard in When Did Jesus Become A Republican? on her myspace page) and last year released her first album in a decade, Beloved Stranger. Hopefully she won't stay away so long next time!
Finally, this is a lovely and straightforwardly introspective piano lament from 1989's Naked Movie Star album.
Cindy Lee Berryhill - What's Wrong With Me mp3 (available for 7 days)
Find out more and where to buy Cindy Lee Berryhill albums at her official website.
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