Coming from the anti-folk scene of the ’90’s, Dan Bern has been crafting acoustic (mostly) folk music, with lyrics that shine a light on his dry wit and biting social commentary, for over 10 years now. Over those 10+ years, Bernstein has managed to prove that this lyric off his debut cd, Dog Boy Van, “and if you’re gonna put me in a box, make sure it’s a big box, with lots of windows and a door for me to walk through” was more a mission statement than a mere lyric.
Having spent the last few years doing children’s albums, Dan has finally put out something for the big kids in the form of his first ever live album. While I normally scoff at live recordings as a quick way to make a buck, let’s be real, music ain’t ever really made Dan a buck, and I don’t suspect it’ll start with Live In Los Angeles, which is a shame, ‘cause it offers some really interesting takes on some Dan Bern staples.
Many years ago I tried to introduce the 9B readership to Dan Bern with the following, “Dan Bern sounds a lot like Bob Dylan. There, I said it…it is done…now let’s move on. I imagine Dan Bern feels the same way. One of my favorite Dan Bern quotes comes from him being asked about the similarity between him and Dylan he replied, “I guess Bob Dylan was sort of the Dan Bern of the ’60’s“….” In hindsight, I should have just waited for Live In Los Angeles to come out, as Dan has provided a much better intro to himself than I ever could have provided. Covering tracks from his entire discography, yet omitting some of his biggest “hits”, Dan has left you plenty more to discover should you start digging into his extensive back catalogue. Something I would suggest you do and you can start with Live In Los Angeles. At $9.00 for 18 tracks, it’s hardly like you’re taking a huge risk.