Singer/Songwriter Dan Bern
has released nearly a dozen records to date, all replete with songs that both move and amuse their listeners. In fact, Bern's natural gift of whit is what attracts so many music fans to his work. With seemingly little effort, Bern is able to intertwine the personal, the political and the absurd all in one song. Here is a list of some of the best songs in Dan Bern's discography so far.
You'd have a really hard time beating a song like "Talking Alien Abduction Blues." This tune was caught on Dan's very first release Dog Boy Van (1996). It features him working Woody Guthrie's talking blues style into a late-20th-century buzz topic - alien abduction. It's witty, it's topical and it's typical Dan Bern.
Race relations have been a topic of Folk music as far back as the genre reaches, but the songs that tackle racism tend to be serious brow-furrowing tunes. Leave it to someone like Dan Bern to make you laugh about racism, and slip something meaningful in there at the same time. From 1998's Fifty Eggs
Dan's more endearing, sensitive side. This tune is a tribute to his big sister, and if you're not all choked up by the end, you probably don't have a big sister. Of course he manages to sneak a little snide wit in there, but mostly it's just sweet and gushy. Also from 1998's Fifty Eggs
This is the first song I ever saw Dan play, when I'd never even heard of him before. That could be why I love it so much. But really I think it was just ballsy of him (pun intended) to make such a coy, timely and no-holds-barred commentary on American popular culture. Also from 1998's Fifty Eggs
Every musician wishes they could sit down and hang out with their three biggest musical influences. This is Dan speculating on how that would work out. Once again, he's witty, insightful and memorable. From 1998's Smartie Mine.
This song may be one of the most quintessential Dan Bern tunes. It really shows the artistry of his skills as a songwriter and storyteller. It's a comment on love, relationships and American culture all at the same time. And it's pretty catchy too! From 2001's New American Language
Ballsy Dan is at it again. It's songs like these that make Folk music so memorable and so important. The most topical of topical tunes, given the fact it was released soon after 9/11. From 2002's The Swastika EP
This is another Folk song about the American romance with illegal substances. Dan makes a darn good point about the history of drugs in America, and the presence they've had with pretty much every artist of note. Whether you agree or not, this song will entertain and inform you. From 2002's The Swastika EP.
In the tradition of topical Folk protest songs, Dan pulls out this tune on 2004's My Country II CD, a record dedicated solely to his points of view regarding that year's presidential election. This one drives his point home most clearly. Besides, it's impressive how many words he wrote that rhyme with "defeated!"
Ever since 2001, Dan's songs have gotten more and more topical, and more and more poignant. This is one of those songs written to remind himself and anyone who listens about the hope that came with the turn of the 21st century. It almost seems like the song all the others have been leading up to. From 2004's Anthems.