A lot of really talented people like working with Michael Sackler-Berner.
People like new wave icon Marshall Crenshaw, Grammy-winning producer Steve Jordan, and 150-million-album selling drummer Liberty DeVitto. They’ve all shared a studio or a stage with the New York singer-songwriter in recent years. Ask why, and they’d say Michael’s a musician’s musician—the kind of guy obsessed with vintage gear, recording live off the floor, etc. But mainly, it’s because he writes such amazing songs.
Sackler-Berner’s songs have appearing regularly in shows like Sons of Anarchy, Bloodline, Nurse Jackie, and Law & Order. He’s acted a little, toured, written songs for other singers, and landed a publishing deal with Razor & Tie. His first solo album, simply titled MSB featured the likes of Jim Keltner, Reggie McBride, and Val McCallum. He recorded a song with his childhood friend Henry Geller and drummer Liberty DeVitto of Billy Joel fame, which led to a detour. “At the end of the session, Liberty asked to be our drummer full-time! So we made a band.” That popular not-so-side project, the Slim Kings, is already two albums in and opening for ZZ Top, and large scale acts.
A new demo caught the ears of Marshall Crenshaw. “Marshall didn’t know me from Adam, but wanted to work with me,” says Sackler-Berner. “Plus, he’s a guitar guy, like me, and it was opportunity to work with a proven songwriter.” Crenshaw picked three new songs of Sackler-Berner’s to work on with Stewart Lerman, the Grammy-winning producer behind St. Vincent and Elvis Costello. Additionally, another five tracks were recorded with Leo Sidran, an Oscar-winning composer/producer. “Those were a bit more aggressive: we were doing one or two takes on the vocals,” says Sackler-Berner.
Following up on the success of the Crenshaw/Sidran double EP release which landed rave reviews from AXS, PopDose, People magazine and even muso-rags likeGuitar World, Sackler-Berner began distilling over 80 songs from his catalog down to 11 for his forthcoming second record which is slated to be produced by red hot Joel Hamilton. Hamilton is currently celebrating a Grammy nod for best rock album of the year and a billboard number one.