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The Pynnacles / Photo by John Keel
The Pynnacles / Photo by John Keel

Tamar Berk Starts at the End, Again

By BOB HOWARD // Tamar Berk is releasing her third solo album Tiny Injuries on August 18 and is already accumulating praise. Tiny Injuries is her third album in three years following Start at the End in 2022 and The Restless Dreams of Youth in 2021. Portland hasn’t seen Tamar on stage since 2019.

Tamar Berk is releasing her third solo album Tiny Injuries on August 18 and is already garnering praise. Tiny Injuries is her third album in three consecutive years following Start at the End in 2022 and The Restless Dreams of Youth in 2021. Portland hasn’t seen Tamar on stage since 2019.

In Portland she played in several bands including the French pop cover band Les Étrangers, The Pynnacles, fronted by Oregon Music Hall of Famer, Sean Croghan, and members of the legendary Satan’s Pilgrims, and Paradise, a popular 60’s and 70’s high concept rock and roll band with her husband Steve Denekas.  The Pynnacles first album received high praise from Portland writer John Chandler for The Portland Monthly stating “This is a dynamite debut album, worth a place of honor in your Portland rock rotation.” 

Paradise released three albums including their  ambitious rock opera Dawn Of Paradise with legendary producer Ron Nevison. As Nathan Carson wrote in the Willamette Weekly in 2017 “With Ron Nevison at the console in Southeast Portland's Hallowed Halls, the record took shape. Dawn of Paradise is a shameless rollercoaster trip through the anthemic, hard-rocking rainbow vibes of Styx and ELO.” Tamar proudly says of her Portland bands The Pynnacles and Paradise, “I was so lucky to work with such amazing musicians in Portland who are still prominently in the scene today.” 

Portland lost her to San Diego in 2018 where she emerged as a solo artist.  “Nobody knew me here, so I just decided to be myself.” It worked. In 2021 she released her first solo album The Restless Dreams of Youth to critical acclaim and was nominated for album of the year and best pop album by the San Diego Music Awards.  The year after in 2022, she released Start at the End, after her father’s death, which was also nominated for Best Pop album, and she was nominated for Best Pop Artist. “Well deserved accolades,” says Terry Currier, Music Millennium, “I’ve checked out her solo work and its great stuff.

Tamar is a super talented musician who left an indelible mark on Portland as the keyboardist of the Psych-Pop- Garage band The Pynnacles and Paradise. Then she left town and took to a solo career. The catchy, sometimes quirky pop songs she creates are songs you want to hear over and over again."

 On her third album she co-produced with drummer and composer Matt Walker (Morissey, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage) whom she calls her musical partner. Tiny Injuries, she describes as “vignettes of moments that gave me tiny injuries.” The record’s songs explore deep emotions ranging from solo voice and piano to full-throttle rock.

Tiny Injuries finds Tamar redefining herself in the wake of her dad’s passing, and what she finds often isn’t flattering, as she works her way through grief and into acceptance.  “I examined my vulnerabilities, fears, moments of weakness, revealing voices in my head for good or bad.”  Her song “If I Could Fix One Thing” has Tamar confronting her own body dysmorphia while the second single, if u know, u know, Tamar writes: “I recently learned that we are always mourning something…a child leaving home, houses, cities, jobs, friends, marriage, a death, ourselves…our youth.” “Getting older has its advantages…but what I dislike most is how long the list of things I mourn has become.” Maybe it’s just a “Drop in the Bucket,” like she says in the first single released from this record.

“As I grow older, I’m just more fragile and sensitive.”  The album is reflective, redemptive, and compelling. She brings you to the edge and leaves you to answer.

Her work has been highly praised everywhere she’s lived from Cleveland, Ohio to Portland and currently San Diego California. She is planning on getting to Portland soon and carrying with her boxes of vinyl for her favorite record stores and she is working on coming to town to play some shows. 

 Pre-order Tiny Injuries On Bandcamp and her other solo work here.





On The Restless Dreams of Youth


Dawn of Paradise


Ron Nevison


Matt Walker


If u know, u know


Drop in the Bucket


Vinyl will be available soon at Music Millennium

Check out Tamar’s Ultimate Playlist on Spotify.




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