Language and Songwriting


An Annotated Concert with Lou & Peter Berryman and Pete Morton

Wisconsin folk singers and songwriters Lou & Peter Berryman will appear with British folk singer and songwriter Pete Morton in an unusual concert on November 10, at 8 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 203 Wisconsin Avenue in Madison. All three musicians share an obsession with language, and this concert highlights songs which focus on different aspects of language.

One of the producers of this show is a former host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Simply Folk, Judy Rose. During Pete Morton’s last visit to Madison, Rose was struck by the similarity between his slightly irreverent but sophisticated discussion of British early English and Lou & Peter’s humorous take on Wisconsin language and accent. As the Berryman duo and Pete Morton were already admirers of each other’s work, the concert was quickly organized.

Lou and Peter Berryman

Lou and Peter Berryman

Lou & Peter Berryman began their career in Madison 30 years ago performing their humorous original songs in local acoustic venues, gradually expanding their range throughout the United States, attracting a national audience through their many recordings and radio appearances, including A Prairie Home Companion.

Peter Morton

Pete Morton

Pete Morton started out as a busker on the streets of Europe at age 16, and he has entertained all over the globe with his unique and involving style of songwriting. With a passionate strong voice and strident guitar style, his songs are an unruly mix of humor, politics, love and social comment, wrapping their way around the folk tradition.

Last year, Lou & Peter did a podcast with Joe Salmons and Tom Purnell of the Wisconsin Englishes project and the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, with live performances of their original Wisconsin songs (see These same faculty members quickly became interested in cooperating on production of the Berryman-Morton concert, and editors of the Dictionary of American Regional English were also enlisted, as well as Jim Leary of the UW Folklore Program.

The concert will be followed by a discussion with musicians and several UW faculty and staff, including Joan Hall of the Dictionary of American Regional English, Jim Leary of the UW Folklore Program, and Joe Salmons and Tom Purnell of CSUMC’s “Wisconsin Englishes” project.

More information about these artists can be found at LOUANDPETER.COM and PETEMORTONMUSIC.COM. Tickets are $14 in advance, $16 day of show, $10/students available at door only. Outlets: Borders East & West, B-side Discs, Orange Tree Imports, Spruce Tree Music, Steep & Brew-Odana Rd., or by phone 608-257-7750.

This concert is presented by the Madison Folk Music Society, with programming support from WORT, in cooperation with the Dictionary of American Regional English, the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, and the UW Folklore Program.

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