[video of the week] Ben Talmi – Tanglewood

Taken from “Berkshires”, out now via Sonder House Records.

“Berkshires” – A love letter to my hometown of Pittsfield, Ma nestled between the mountain ranges and valleys of Berkshire County.

The first single, “Ralph & Mary” is a true story about my grandparents who served in WWII and used my grandfather’s GI bill to fund their diner, “The Sugar Bowl” which they ran for 40 years.

The remaining songs on the album are all short stories and odes to the people and places of Berkshire County that I love the most. “Berkshires” paints a series of vignettes including the night some friends and I paid tribute to The Ramones by hanging a giant “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” banner above our beloved Pittsfield High School. No one saw it and the banner was taken down first thing the following morning. Other memories include playing the juvenile drinking game “Edward 40 hands” in which one duct tapes two 40oz beers to their hands until they are sufficiently drunk. Going to a Smiths singalong party at the age of 15, not knowing any of the words and feeling sufficient shame for the rest of my life and several more both embarrassing and terrifying coming of age experiences.

“Tanglewood” celebrates the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Berkshires shining culture gem. “Couldn’t Cut It On The Violin” chronicles the memory of being terrified of my tyrannical violin teacher and the subsequent trying and failing to become the next Itzhak Perlman.

After leaving the Berkshires I attended Berklee College Of Music where I studied orchestral arranging. This lead to doing orchestral arrangements for artists like, Manchester Orchestra, Wild Nothing, Tokyo Police Club, No Wyld and many more.

The album art, hand painted by Robert Gunn, is a faithful nod to the visual stylings of Norman Rockwell’s iconic Saturday Evening Post illustrations. Rockwell’s home and accompanying museum are the subject of every Berkshire County middle school students field trip memories and as such, a staple in Western Mass and American history.




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