You may know him as the host of the comedy news show the Manitowoc Minute, but Milwaukeean Charlie Berens is much more than that. His work as a comedian has made him a major exporter of Wisconsin culture and his new album “Unthawed” takes that work a step farther. Songs like, “Supper Club Shuffle,” and “Ope Nope,” celebrate the unique cultural customs that have come to define Wisconsin life.
Berens explains that he’s able to come up with so much material about Wisconsin because the state prides itself on not taking anything too seriously.
“You really see that a lot with the Packers. We’re the only team in the NFL whose fans consistently wear a wedge of cheese on their head and that wedge of cheese can also be worn to a funeral and that’s seen as a sign of respect,” he says.
That embrace for him is also a sign that people in Wisconsin have a lot of love for their state that not every other state has.
“Unthawed” continues that trend of embracing all things Wisconsin and is a collaboration with venerated Wisconsin folk musician Adam Greuel — which may be how it ended up on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums. An accomplishment that Berens never expected.
He hopes in the end that people can take away the fact that this album was made in the spirit of Midwest nice and that despite negativity and division, a love for the customs of Wisconsin can bring more people together.