By DONNA BALANCIA
Cindy Lee Berryhill’s albums Garage Orchestra and Straight Outta Marysville will get a second life as the well-loved SoCal musician is in talks to reissue her 1994 and 1996 works.
Berryhill, who recently played her entire album The Adventurist with a small orchestra at McCabe’s, said her late husband Paul Williams would be proud of the latest news. She said Williams worked dilligently to take her to executives around town in the day to get her music heard.
“Paul would talk me through it and he was my emotional support,” she said. “He would be very happy about this news.”
The album Garage Orchestra was released in 1994 and Straight Outta Marysville came out in 1996. The records will not be remixed, but there will be bonus outtakes and previously unreleased material on the new reissues.
Berryhill is known as an innovative singer-songwriter who has always aspired to achieve intriguing sounds. Her latest album, The Adventurist, is a beautiful collection of tracks inspired by her late husband and the care that went into his final days. Williams died in 2013 as a result of brain trauma.
The albums that will get the reissue represent a great deal of longing, work, and a new approach to making music.
“On Garage Orchestra, I started using instrumentation,” she said. “My other work had been singer-songwriter but these albums had the orchestra.”
Berryhill’s musical inspiration on the albums was Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. And then, miraculously, one day she got to meet him. Williams, who was the founder of a rock magazine, was interviewing the famous leader of The Beach Boys. Cindy tagged along and struck up a friendship with Brian’s wife, Melinda.
“Melinda and I became friends,” she said. “Melinda introduced me to Brian and we kept up a friendship and would talk every couple of months. She had me play my songs for Brian.”
To this day, Wilson is still Berryhill’s inspiration. But his influence is almost “innate” in her now she says, following many years of listening to Wilson.
“I learned a lot from Brian,” she said. “I would listen to all of his music and realized he’s a genius arranger. Through him I learned how to be an arranger, how to get things out of musicians. There haven’t been a lot of female musicians who are arranger-producers in that way that Brian Wilson is or Phil Spector or Jeff Lynne. But that’s exactly what I’ve learned how to do.”
Check out Radio Astronomy from the album Garage Orchestra: