I call him Bernie Baseball. I might also have to start calling him Bernie Guitar. Yeah, the alliteration isn’t there, and it sounds like a name out of some 1950s teen flick, but I still like it immensely, even passionately. Just like I like his debut CD, The Journey Within (GRP). Who am I speaking of in such admiration-filled terms? Why none other than New York Yankees centerfielder Bernie Williams. Turns out the man with the lifetime .307 average is also a wicked-good guitarist, as he proves on the Latin-jazz and pop-flavored The Journey Within, which features stars like Béla Fleck, David Benoit, Ruben Blades, Luis Conte and other crossover artists.
Rather suspiciously, Bernie hurt his knee earlier this baseball season, thus freeing him up from the rigors of the diamond-aka the Emerald Chessboard, aka some dirt and grass-which in turn gave him more time to practice his ax for the big promo push his CD is receiving from GRP. (We kid with the conspiracy. The now fully recovered Bernie would have be out there rocking the American League East all season if were able to.) In addition to performing at the MLB All-Star Game, Bernie and his band launched The Journey Within with a star-studded show at Chicago’s House of Blues. See that photo? That’s B on the House of Blues stage. (I call him B sometimes, too, when I’m in a rush. Well, I mean, if we really were friends, I’d call him all these nicknames. I’d probably call him Mr. Williams a lot too.)
For more information, and to see a video of Mr. Williams making the album, log on to www.berniewilliams.com, where you can also enter to win a B Wills model Fender Stratocaster as well as some baseball collectibles. You can also stream the album at Bernie B’s Web site and check out my man’s six-string skillz. He doesn’t disappoint. Just take Paul McCartney’s word for it. The former Beatle signed Williams to a publishing deal and had this to say about the baseball star turned musician: “I was intrigued to hear his music, so when I heard his CD I was blown away by his talent,” says McCartney. “Go Bernie, it’s a home run!”
Ringo notwithstanding, McCartney was always the corniest Beatle.Originally Published