Review Summary: Bernhoft's second live album is something wildly different from his signature one-man act that stands as one of the best live albums released in recent years
Norwegian pop sensation Jarle Bernhoft is full of surprises. He got his start in hard-rock band Span who gained a lot of interest leading up to their debut record, Mass Distraction. Unfortunately, interest waned when the album was held back by the publisher for an additional year. After the band’s split shortly after their 2005 release, Vs. Time, Bernhoft embarked on a solo career, his first studio release being the critically praised Ceramik City Chronicles in 2008. Shortly after beginning his tour, Bernhoft found he was nearing bankruptcy and realized he would have to drop his band to continue touring -- and that he did.
On stage, all Bernhoft had was a Fender Rhodes, a couple guitars and a loop pedal. His new “one-man band” act quickly gained popularity in his home country and his powerful, fun stage presence would continue to propel him to the top. The man gained a huge following, releasing a remarkable live double album in 2010, 1:Man 2:Band; and a second studio album, Solidarity Breaks which topped Norwegian charts for 7 weeks after its release. Following the release of Solidarity Breaks, Bernhoft began touring with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK), leading to his second live album, Walk With Me.
Walk With Me is the perfect example of the musician’s flexible capabilities in writing music. The album contains a slew of songs born from experiments in his one-man act, that would become number one pop hits and now, thanks to assistance from the KORK, they find a new life as beautiful, fully realized orchestrations that stand out as something truly different from what Bernhoft is known for. At a glance, it seems like a risque move, but if you take a closer look you’ll see it as a spectacle just as remarkable as the man with a loop pedal.
The tracklist for the album is also a notable aspect of the album as everything fits in perfectly. It contains several tracks from Solidarity Breaks, including the hit single “C’mon Talk” which is worth pointing out in that it is the only song that features the use of a loop pedal. Also included are an intro and interlude; and several unreleased songs including the titular “Walk With Me”.
Walk With Me is a surprising new addition to Bernhoft’s discography that matches the quality of his past releases, and even surpasses them in some respects. It’s a masterful production that really makes you feel as if you sitting in the audience at the Chateau Neuf. Since being introduced to Bernhoft by a close friend of mine, I’ve had very high expectations of his work, and Walk With Me has surpassed them in every possible way. It’s quickly become one of my all-time favorite live albums.