Please feel encouraged to clip and paste any of this page for your promotional efforts. Follow this link for a press release you can easily adapt with the details of your performance. The press release is in a pdf format because that is most universal. To Edit this document for your purposes simply highlight the text you wish to use, copy, then paste it into a word document. The main thing you will need to change is the date, time, location and ticket price, basically the first paragraph. You may also wish to add your contact information so the local press can interview you about the event. Please leave David’s contact information, because the press is more likely to contact the artist.


Berchtold and Stear

With 25 years of honing his craft, David Berchtold's forte' is his amazing expertise at finger picking. The genres David Berchtold explores throughout his shows at "restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, private parties and concert venues", run the gamut of "folk, blues, ragtime, roots rock, gospel, and acoustic rock classics". Some of his shows have been known to run up to 4 hours, some with vocals and some completely instrumental.


For over 30 years, Brian Stear has built a reputation of being a consumate sideman, a reputation he is very proud of. Over the years Brian has played with hundreds of great artists, from David Berchtold to Koko Taylor. An expert multi-instrumentalists, who first started out playing Drums, Brian then progressed to Harmonica, Guitar, Mandolin, even Grandma's Washboard, "which he plays with bare fingers to really feel what he’s doing." Brian Stear's commitment to music goes far beyond Studio Work and Live performances, as he "also works with schools, youth groups, educators, and other organizations to present musical workshops to inform and motivate the next generation."


– John Vermilyea - Blues Underground Network


"Berchtold and Stear: Ghosts of Music Past" (Apr 2011) 
From Tin Pan Alley to Deep South and Piedmont soul, from folk-singer musings to rock-band remakes, it's all here. Berchtold and Stear show that there isn't much they won't try, and less still that they can't do well. 


Parchman Farm is so intricate and so well done, it belongs in everybody's Blues playlist! 

– James "Skyy Dobro" Waker, Friends of the Blues Radio Show 91.1FM WKCC radio

“Parchman Farm” showcases some of the duo’s most passionate playing. David’s acoustic guitar is complemented by some of Brian’s most “down and dirty” harp. Brian also juxtaposes the acoustic lines with piercing notes from an electric guitar. Mose Allison’s ode to the famous prison has never sounded deeper.


Berchtold and Stear show that there isn’t much they won’t try, and less still that they can’t do well. 

– Nick DeRiso of and

Artist: Berchtold and Stear
Album: Ghosts of Music Past
Review by Nick DeRiso


In a way, Ghosts of Music Past couldn’t be a more appropriate name for Berchtold and Stear’s brilliantly varied, blues-steeped journey through time. From Tin Pan Alley to Deep South soul, from folk-singer musings to rock-band remakes, it’s all here. Still, don’t look for a dismal ride through age-old remembrances on this darkly titled new release. Instead, Ghosts of Music Past begins with a skipping little instrumental, “Moles Moan,” featuring Stear on a box-car rattling turn on harmonica. Berchtold weaves in and around these sharp hiccups, playing guitar lines that alternate between sweet-corn country and grease-trap blues. That upbeat mood continues with Tom Paxton’s “Bottle of Wine,” a sun-filled back-porch tune.


When Berchtold and Stear settle into the ringing melancholy of Nick Drake’s “Northern Sky,” their album finally approaches the strange mysticism of its title. The song brilliantly stirs in a country rock influence, like the J.D. Souther songs by the Eagles. Later, the duo goes even further into the rock realm, taking on Led Zeppelin’s acoustic classic “Going to California,” then “Water Song,” by Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane fame; Bob Dylan’s “Buckets of Rain”; and, finally, “South City Midnight Lady” by the Doobie Brothers.


Berchtold and Stear also stir in a heaping helping of blues, taking on Doug “Little Brother” Jones’ “Fishin’ Clothes,” Leroy Carr’s “How Long Blues,” Gregg Allman’s “Come and Go Blues” and Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm.” Stear is a revelation on “Fishin’ Clothes,” sounding so locomotive on the harp that he nearly carries the song through the front of the speakers. Berchtold turns in similarly gritty performances on Carr’s Piedmont blues and Allman’s gutsy groover. If anything, these two get greasier on the Allison track, a grim tale of enslavement and isolation. As Berchtold picks his way through a bent-note fury, Stear just hits a furious riff on the harmonica.


There are a few intriguing left-turn moments on the record too and, rather than distracting from these other triumphs, they illustrate just how deeply talented Berchtold and Stear are.


The duo performs “If I Were a Carpenter,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and a trio of tunes from the jazz idiom including the Gershwins’ “Summertime” and the Dave Brubeck Band favorite “Take Five.” Leave aside “Carpenter,” where perhaps to no one’s surprise Berchtold and Stear struggle to avoid sing-song clichés. But “Rainbow,” as it did in 1993 for Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, comes alive in their hands, first as a forlorn blues-soaked lament then (after a mid-song course correction) into a rattling affirmation of the hopes and dreams that song has always embodied. Same with their scuffed up rendition of “Summertime,” which finally connects completely with its own lyrics about backwater fishing and high cotton.


“Take Five” is Berchtold and Stear’s traditional set-closer before taking a mid-gig break. The pair is so at ease with this complex yet popular standard that they’ve jokingly begun referring to it as “Take Fifteen,” and that comfy familiarity shines through. It’s a toe-tapping delight.


Once again, Berchtold and Stear show that there isn’t much they won’t try, and less still that they can’t do well.


Review by Nick DeRiso
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)