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Dan Bern

Talkin' Bernstein

Dan Bern plays an all-ages show the Santa Fe Performance Exchange this Saturday

January 20, 2011, 1:00 am
By Mike Zolnick

Singer-songwriter Dan Bern, best known for his NSFW socio-politically charged music and witty lyrics, returns to New Mexico for two nights only.

Dan Bern has always been a singer-songwriter at heart. Since 1997, he has released 17 albums covering everything from Tiger Woods to the Bush presidency. His work has frequently fanned the flames of current events uproars, dancing around political rhetoric and absurdity with songs such as "My Little Swastika" and "Bush Must Be Defeated" under the name Dan Bern & the International Jewish Banking Conspiracy.

"My older work was about the economy, events in the day. I used to write topical songs madly. I would write a song every two or three days about whatever was going on in the world," Bern says. "Not so much [political emphasis] anymore. Timeless might be the word I use to describe it."

What changed it all was a new life in the Bern family.

"I had a little girl born a few years ago. That's what really inspired me to write [my newest album, Two Feet Tall]," Bern says.

Bern's newest work veers away from his traditional influences. Unlike past work, aimed at current-event-savvy adults, this album features 38 songs for children. Yet all the catchy tunes and playful lyrics Bern is known best for are still there.

"[Children are] a different kind of audience. It's still songs, still about what's going on. I'd call is innocent and basic. A lot of it was left to my own devices. I don't normally write about shoes or the sky," Bern says. "They say you really see things differently when you have a child, and it really applies."

But don't think that Saturday's concert will be just for the kiddies. He'll be sure to include classics from older albums. 

"Everyone always tells me 'Play songs from your new album!' or 'You should really play your old stuff.' I try to mix it up a bit with everything, including work that's never been recorded," Bern says. "With my newest live album [Live in Los Angeles], I try to show people what a live show's like."

With his return to New Mexico, Bern brings with him the country influences of "the old crooners: Ray Price, Frank and Munro," he says.

"I'm working on a country album now. It's got songs I wrote when I lived in T or C for six years," he says.

"Last year I wrote about all the sports stuff going on. You know, that umpire that missed the call that ruined the perfect game. I usually write stuff like that when I'm on the road," Bern says. "So who knows what I'll have by Saturday?"

Dan Bern
7-9 pm
Saturday, Jan. 22
$15 cover
Santa Fe Performance Exchange
La Tienda
7 Calienta Rd.
466-3116

 

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