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Album premiere: David Berkeley returns with "Cardboard Boat"

David Berkeley

Kerry Sherck

When David Berkeley unveils his sixth studio effort on Sept. 25, it won't just be an ordinary album. The singer-songwriter will once again pair his songs with stories: he's also publishing a complementary book of 10 interwoven tales titled, "The Free Brontosaurus."

Together, they make up a collection that's told through the perspective of each story's main character. Berkeley says that although he still pens lyrics from his own personal experiences, he's more inspired these days when writing about characters.

"A few years ago, I began dreaming up a world of overlapping stories all set in the same fictional city at the same moment in time," the Harvard graduate told CBS News. "The stories would portray slightly off-kilter characters who don't fit in smoothly with mainstream society and who often find beauty in strange and somewhat surprising places. These characters might meet in each other's tales, some could fall in love, some would just find a friend. Though each character no doubt would have struggles, I wanted the stories to ultimately be uplifting, celebrating the potential for connection even among people for whom that is rare."

Berkeley brought his band to the hills above Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives, to work on the new material.

"We arranged and recorded the songs with the stories strongly in mind. Because half the songs are from female characters' perspectives, I wanted to feature a strong female voice on harmonies," he said.

Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek shares her voice to five of the 10 tracks on the set.

"Sara has an incredible range, and I mean both in pitch and tone. She can sound like an innocent, vulnerable child at one moment and a wise, strong woman in the next," Berkeley said.

Watkins' vocals can be heard on Berkeley's new album, which is making its exclusive premiere today on CBSNews.com.

Listen to "Cardboard Boat" in its entirety below, and go here to order the album and book.