Saranac Lake Writing an objective review of Dan Berggren’s new CD — “Tongues in Trees” — is impossible for me. I’m too close to the situation.
You see, Dan was my radio professor at SUNY Fredonia from 1988 to 1991. Being Adirondack Mountain men, so to speak — Dan’s from Minerva and I’m from Tupper Lake — we hit it off. He lent me a banjo for a year and taught me how to play. I delivered his mail while working for the Fredonia Post Office; yes, he and his Newton Street Irregulars did actually live on the odd side of the street. And his music — particularly the song “Mountain Air” — made me homesick and taught me to appreciate my hometown more than I had when I left for college. He inspired me to move back to the Adirondacks.
Since graduation, Dan and I have kept in touch, especially now that he’s retired and lives in Ballston Spa. We’ve worked professionally, even performing together at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts for an Adirondack Museum program; he played music and I read stories from my “Adirondack Attic” book series. Dan’s instrumental “Clearing Out the Monkey Thoughts” from his “North River, North Woods” album is the theme song for my “Adirondack Attic” show on North Country Public Radio.
So I’m too close to the situation to be objective about “Tongues in Trees,” especially since he mentioned me by name in his liner notes on the CD’s packaging. He wrote the third track on the CD — “The Attic” — for our LPCA performance and debuted it there in Lake Placid in 2008. Then it was titled, “Adirondack Attic.” By taking out the word “Adirondack,” he made it more universal, and it certainly works. No surprise, it’s my favorite song out of the 14 on the CD. You can hear Dan’s original version on his website as Bits & Pieces 01.