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Dan Bern

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Dan Bern (also known as Bernstein; born 27 July 1965) is a Jewish American guitarist, singer, songwriter, novelist and painter. His music is often compared to that of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Ochs and Elvis Costello.[1] [2] [3]

He is an extremely prolific composer, having written over six hundred songs. He also wrote the novel Quitting Science (2004) under the pen name Cunliffe Merriwether and wrote the preface under his own name.

ThemesEdit

Bern's song "Talkin' Woody, Bob, Bruce, and Dan Blues", from the album Smartie Mine, offers a joking take on this influence, presented in the style of a Guthrie or Dylan talking blues song, and containing a spoof of a Springsteen song as well. When asked about the similarity between himself and Dylan, he once quipped, "I guess Bob Dylan was sort of the Dan Bern of the 1960's". Bernstein has also toured with Ani DiFranco. He is known for sardonic, literary lyrics, a range of musical styles, and a folk music style paired with rock instrumentation.

Although a vein of social and political humor runs though even his earliest work, Bern's songs became more explicitly political during the 2004 US presidential election campaign, with songs such as "Bush Must Be Defeated" and "President" highlighting his sometimes surreal political takes. His work also often deals with his Lithuanian Jewish ancestry, as in such songs as "Lithuania". The name Bernstein is a reference to this ancestry; on a trip to Lithuania, he learned it was his family's name before immigration to the United States.[4]Bern's songwriting skills were used in the biopic parody film Walk Hard where he helped write 16 songs for the movie. Many of these songs made the theatrical cut of the film including the Dylanesque "Royal Jelly", and the melodic "(Have You Heard the News) Dewey Cox Died".

Many of his tours and recordings between 1997 and 2003 featured a regular cast of backup musicians which he began calling the International Jewish Banking Conspiracy or IJBC. When asked why he chose that name, Bern said it was a tribute to the book Nigger by Dick Gregory.

New American Language, The Swastika EP, Fleeting Days and My Country II were all released under the "Dan Bern & the International Jewish Banking Conspiracy" name. The IJBC featured longtime Bern producer and collaborator Wil Masisak on keyboards, drums, guitar and bass; Eben "Eby Brown" Grace on guitar and pedal steel; Brian "Slim Nickel" Schey on bass and guitar; Paul Kuhn on cellocaster; Anna Phoebe on electric violin; and drummers Colin "Spanky" Mahoney and Jake Coffin.

In early 2007, Bern's Breathe won in The 6th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album. [1]

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

  • Dog Boy Van (EP; 1996)
  • Dan Bern (1997)
  • Fifty Eggs (1998)
  • Smartie Mine (double album; 1998)
  • New American Language (2001)
  • World Cup (EP; 2002)
  • The Swastika EP (EP; 2002)
  • Fleeting Days (2003)
  • My Country II (EP; 2004)
  • Anthems (EP; 2004)
  • Breathe Easy (EP; 2006)
  • Breathe (2006)
  • Moving Home (2008)
  • Two Feet Tall (2009)

Albums available on iTunes and eMusicEdit

  • Divine and Conquer (1994; released 2007)
  • The Burbank Tapes (1998; released in 2007)
  • Macaroni Cola (2000-2001; released in 2007)

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Dan Bern. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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