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David Baerwald

 


Abra Moore, with David Baerwald & the New Folk Underground

WHERE: Cajun House, 7117 E. Third Ave., Scottsdale. (480) 945-5150.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 3.

ADMISSION: $10, available through Ticketmaster, (480) 784-4444 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/.

Michael Senft
The Arizona Republic
June 27, 2002 12:00:00

Singer-songwriter David Baerwald has skirted the fringes of success for 15 years.

As half of the duo David and David, he scored a critical hit with the album Boomtown in 1986. Since then, he has recorded just three solo albums, 1990's Bedtime Stories, 1992's Triage and the soon-to-be-released Welcome to the New Folk Underground.

Baerwald has had his moment in the spotlight, however. As a member of the Tuesday Night Music Club, he co-wrote all of the hits from the album that made Sheryl Crow a star, and he stood onstage with her to accept a Grammy for Leaving Las Vegas.


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"Actually the TNMC sprang from Triage," Baerwald says. "All the same guys are on it: Kevin Gilbert, Bill Bottrell, Brian MacLeod, Dan Schwartz.

"It was a potent combination. We had such a great time making Triage that we didn't stop. We'd get together in Bill's studio on Tuesday nights. It was sort of our version of a poker club."

After the dissolution of that group, Baerwald retreated from the spotlight, working mostly on soundtracks. His film work recently earned him more accolades when his song Come What May, from Moulin Rouge, was nominated for a Golden Globe.

"I actually wrote the song for Romeo & Juliet, which is why I wasn't eligible for the Oscar," he says matter-of-factly. "I was pretty mortified by the movie version, actually. To me it's a delicate little song, and to try to pummel it into somebody's head is against the nature of the song."

To fans of Baerwald's music, the song was a bit of a departure. For someone who wrote three albums full of bleak tales of addiction, paranoia and broken dreams, the simple love song came as a shock. Baerwald laughs off the apparent contradiction.

"There's something about the traditionalism of the language that was a little harder for me to get a grip on. It didn't take long though," he says.

"I've always written songs somewhat like that. Even at the end of Triage, as dark an album as that is, there was an over-the-top love song."

As infrequently as Baerwald has entered the recording studio, he has avoided the live stage even more.

"This is the first time I've performed a lot of this stuff," he says. "You can get disconnected from stuff during the recordmaking process. Working with David (Ricketts, of David and David) was labor-intensive; we were playing all the instruments and it got to be a bore. The TNMC was rather traumatizing. It was a tremendously volatile group.

"One of the great things about this band is that it's making me like my music again. I've never really enjoyed performing, but I'm enjoying this now. The New Folk Underground is more human, more like a family, and it's much more fun."

* * *

Reach Senft at michael.senft@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-8489.

Read Senft's bio


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