In House #1709: Dan Bern's Breathe; New Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan
Singer-songwriter Dan Bern has built a career on his idiosyncracies. Over the course of five full-lengths Bern has become well known for both his witty and biting lyrics and his nasally vocal delivery. In recent years, he's also gained a lot of attention for his heart-on-his-sleeve political songs, many of which were included on the EPs Swastika (2002) and My Country II: Music to Beat Bush By (2004). It's for this reason that Breathe, Bern's sixth album out this week on Messenger, comes as something of a surprise-- he's backed off on the political angle almost entirely and instead of topical numbers like "Bush Must Be Defeated," and "Talkin' Al Kida Blues," we get an approach that is at once more personal and universal on songs with titles like "Feel Like a Man," and "Remember Me." Perhaps the closest Bern comes to political songwriting here is the song "Trudy," oddly namedropping Barry Bonds before going on to speak of "the Christian new year" and lines like "Trudy Trudy Trudy/ I'm still on active duty/ And you know what happens when you're AWOL..." The true meanings, however, are vague enough so as to remain open to interpretation. Dan Bern will be touring almost constantly through November from New York to British Columbia, Florida to California.
In House #1709.
Focus: New release from Dan Bern, Breathe, plus new music from Jerry Lee Lewis, Anne McCue, Chris Smither, and more.
Dan Bern, from Breathe: "Breathe" (MP3) and "Trudy" (MP3)
...and My Country II: "Bush Must Be Defeated" (MP3)
Anne McCue, from Koala Motel: "From Bakersfield to Saigon" (MP3)
In House PODCAST #178