The Berrymans

The Berrymans

Lou & Peter Berryman's sophisticated and wickedly funny original songwriting blends the best melodic and lyric aspects of musical comedy, cabaret, and folk music, into a unique style that has delighted nationwide audiences for nearly 20 years. Their whimsical and wonderfully accessible performance of these songs leaves audiences with cheeks aching from smiling, and with a fresh perspective on the human condition.

With influences as diverse as Gilbert and Sullivan and Edith Piaf, but always with a twist of their own, Lou and Peter Berryman bring an inventive and intelligent humor to the rich melodic legacy of theatrical music. They are in the process of creating their third songbook, and recently they released their tenth recording of original songs to rave reviews. Berryman songs are being sung around the world, by a legion of professional musicians as well as shower singers everywhere, but no one sings them as well as Lou and Peter themselves.


When it comes to being funny, I think I've spent the first thirty years trying to be as funny as Tom Lehrer and the last part will be trying to be as funny as the Berrymans. They don't come any funnier than that... Tom Paxton

It is very rare that I ever put on a recording for the 1st time and actually break out in audible laughter. I thought Lou & Peter's DOUBLE YODEL was fantastic. Robert J. Lertsema, WGBH, Boston

Lou & Peter Berryman write very eccentric, very funny satirical songs...delightful Wisconsin performers... If Tom Lehrer had grown up in America's Dairyland, his songs might sound like theirs. THE BOSTON GLOBE

Once in a while a song comes along that so successfully crystallizes familiar thoughts that you feel you could have written it yourself... Alot of people feel that way about [Lou & Peter's] "Why Am I Painting the Living Room" THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY CHRONICLE

...Quirky, wry, ironic humor. Peter's highly literate lyrics and skewed perspective are unique. When enhanced by Lou's soundscapes, the duo makes magic. By the time the Berrymans encored with their wistful, fumbling love song "We Strolled On the Beach" I was in love too. I'm a fan of this clever duo now. VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST

Peter and Lou Berryman just have to be the funnybones of the Midwest. Public radio listeners know that this Madison-based duo is pure entertainment. Their huge bag of comic music is filled with gems sung daily by dozens of well-known entertainers, but never done better than by themselves. CHRONIC LAUGHTER ALERT: persons with recent rib injuries should wear their braces or prepare to leave the show early. GRASSROOTS CONCERTS, Brainerd, MN

Sharing a fascination with language and a unique perspective on the world, Lou & Peter Berryman offer refreshing observations on the human condition in a style blending folk music with musical comedy. They manage to translate it all into hilarious songs that have become instant classics. Songs that feel like they had you in mind when the words and music came together. THE WINNIPEG FOLK FESTIVAL, Winnipeg, MN Canada

Their songs and performances are unfailingly wacky, and just as dependably 100% right. No one writes songs like Peter and Lou, but everyone recognizes the truth and the clear vision behind each one. 10# FIDDLE, Lansing, MI

This once-married duo from the upper midwest is among the most entertaining acts we've ever had at the Freight. Their songs are crafted from often unpromising raw material (sports headlines, mother love, state pride) but invariably as the lyrics unroll the audience begins to roll on the floor...

The Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA

Peter & Lou Berryman, when first introduced to us through the singing of Michael Cooney, might have been considered a sort of clever novelty act. They wrote and sang their own songs, mostly humorous, Peter on 12 string guitar and Lou on accordion on a pogo stick. Now, however, looking at over a decade of producing more maturing, sophisticated and wickedly funny material, they have obviously achieved a classic level of comedic songwriting in the ranks of Tom Lehrer or Flanders & Swann. Responsible for such gems as "A Chat with your Mother" (the "F"-word song), "The Speculator", "Why Am I Painting the Living Room?" and dozens more, they have identified the exact point where the English language meets the funny bone, with a special flair for songs in which two voices singing entirely different things somehow manage to mesh into one cacophonic, yet clear, message. Mike Agranoff, THE FOLK PROJECT, Basking Ridge, NJ

Lou & Peter Berryman's wry folk songs may one day be proclaimed by scholars as the definitive view of Wisconsin in the late 20th century. Isthmus, Madison, WI

...Folkdom's favorite funny folks... Folklore Society of Greater Washington



  • LOU BERRYMAN composes and arranges music, sings and plays pianoaccordion and button accordion full-time throughout the year with her business partner, Peter Berryman; she does half the driving and fills the tank. Lou handles booking and tour arrangements, scheduling, promotion, record distribution, and light lifting for their conglomerate. Except for a five-year stint in Canada, she has lived in Wisconsin all her life, early on enjoying indigenous accordion music as well as folk, classical and musical theater. Lou attended UW-Madison, enjoying a variety of course work until finally settling on and graduating in art history. Lou lives with her husband, Mark Hodgson, in an old house they are happily keeping from condemnation. She is an accomplished weaver and sewer who enjoys camping, birding, cross country skiing and red licorice.

  • PETER BERRYMAN writes lyrics and music, sings and plays the 12-string guitar full-time throughout the year with his business partner, Lou Berryman; he does half the driving and checks the oil. He also does most of the art, graphics, darkroom work, record sales, schlepping, carpentry, rationalization and heavy lifting for their conglomerate. Peter's family brought him to Wisconsin when he was nine and moved back to the east again after he graduated from high school, leaving him there. Early and abiding interests in American folk music, beatnik poetry, surrealism, Dadaism and musical theater continue to influence his work. Peter and his wife, Kristi Seifert, live with the dogs, Hildy and Rosie, and the bird, Birdie, in a little green house. Peter has an unfocused interest in art, which has led him through painting, drawing, and film-making, to a current emphasis on electrical wiring and kitsch.

    Lou and Peter have been friends since 1963 when they met in art class and then began their musical partnership in the first of a long series of musical groups. They played lots of different kinds of music; folk, jug band and old-time music, with occasional forays into blues and even rock and roll were adapted to a growing repertoire of original songs. Their friendship survived a brief marriage, and the musical duo as it exists today was formed in about 1975. Since then they have performed in big and little venues across the continent, performing only their original songs. The music reflects the wide variety of interests and experiences of these two, as seen through the softening lens of humor. Their latest recording, DOUBLE YODEL, was released in spring of 1995.


  • 1. Lou & Peter Berryman (no relation) cassette & LP CR9056 13 songs
  • 2. CUPID'S TRASH TRUCK cassette & LP CR8002 12 songs
  • 3. SO COMFORTABLE cassette & LP 1984 CR300 14 songs
  • 4. THE FEBRUARY MARCH cassette & LP 1986 CR400 12 songs
  • 5. YOUR STATE'S NAME HERE Cassette & LP 1988 CR500 12 songs
  • 6. FORWARD HEY cassette 1988 CR600 11 Songs about Wisconsin, arranged, performed and recorded with 5-piece quintet. 1988
  • 7. COW IMAGINATION CD & Cassette 1990 CR700 14 songs
  • 8. WE DON'T TALK ABOUT THAT! CD & cassette 1992 CR800 14 songs
  • 9. WHAT, AGAIN!? CD 1993 CR900 (re-recorded selections from albums from 1980-1988) 15 songs
  • 10. DOUBLE YODEL CD & Cassette 1995 CR10 13 songs

    All albums @ Cornbelt Records, Box 3452, Madison, WI 53704 PUBLICATIONS

    The Berryman Berryman Songbook 1984 - 30 songs, illustrated, with piano arrangements. (out of print)

    The New Berryman Berryman Songbook 1989 - 85 songs, illustrated.

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    Lou and Peter Berryman

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