Mike Beresh, longtime leader of the Country Devils, Baltimore's best hard-core, hard-luck honky-tonk band with a wicked sense of humor, died last Friday* at the age of 40. The details surrounding his death are still emerging, but Beresh had been suffering from liver problems.
Bandmate Dave Hubbard sent this remembrance: "A hard worker. A prolific artist. One charismatic guy. As a musician, I always felt lucky to be able to play with such a great songwriter. His music touched many. Just about every moment with the band was pure enjoyment for us all. 14 years together and the music never got old, and the friendships stayed strong. I'll miss him dearly."
I saw Beresh a couple weeks ago when my band, the Barnyard Sharks, played at The Crown. He was friendly and chipper and seemed to be in good health. Our bands had played together before and I was a big fan of his music—not only in the Country Devils, who were set to celebrate 15 years as a band at the Metro Gallery on April 18, but also his "Letters to Baltimore from the War" project, which took actual letters from World War II and turned them into song.
'What's Your Favorite Way to Say Goodbye?,' the final song on his just-released solo album "Wives' Tales," is, in retrospect, heartbreaking. Here is Mike singing it with one of his kids and a nephew.
Here's informatiom on the memorial service from Schimunek Funeral Home: "On April 3, 2015 Michael D. Beresh; devoted father of Samuel and Elizabeth Beresh; loving son of Claudia Beresh and the late Bill Beresh; dear brother of Kathleen Gwyther and her husband Jason and Daniel Beresh and his wife Wendy; Uncle of Madeleine and Liam Gwyther and Jackson and Cameron Beresh.
Relatives and friends may visit at the Schimunek Funeral Home of Bel Air Inc. 610 MacPhail Road, Bel Air, MD 21014 on Thursday 2-4 and 7-9 PM where a Catholic Prayer Service will be held at 7:30 PM. Cremation to follow."
* An earlier version of this story mistakenly noted that he died Saturday.