Some prefer to work behind the scenes. Others are comfortable in the limelight. Harrison Berg keeps one foot on either side of the curtain.
The Chicago concert promoter/band manager spent a decade bolstering others’ careers off-stage, until he was asked to perform at a friend’s wedding in 2007. That role reversal, though brief, proved to be life changing, inspiring the longtime guitarist to rethink his musical aspirations and start compiling a catalog of his own material.
Comfortable with the direction of his sound, Berg enlisted friend and longtime Trey Anastasio collaborator Jennifer Hartswick to provide backing vocals, and the pair rounded out the band with a collection of well seasoned players Berg knew from his years in the industry. Van Ghost was born.
The band’s bio describes its sound as “poppy folk ballads, gritty Americana tunes and classic rock laced jams,” but its latest EP, recorded in Nashville with producer Justin Niebank, is unadulterated pop rock. The production is squeaky clean, the verses are predictably catchy, anthemic swells and percussive breaks grace nearly every track and Berg’s voice is strikingly reminiscent of John Mayer. And while it may be far from gritty, there is a certain jam rock influence lurking beneath the Top 40, pop-friendly surface. Point being, Van Ghost makes music that’s intentionally easy to listen to.
The band stops in Asheville on Saturday, March 17 for a performance at Pisgah Brewing Company. Stay tuned to Xpress’ Facebook page for a change to win tickets to the show.