There was a time when the free CDs glued to the front of magazines were something other than a revenue stream for the publishers, and every so often a reminder of the glory days pops up. Back in September 1998 Uncut Magazine came with a CD called ‘Sounds of The New West‘. It was designed to accompany an article introducing New Country/Alt. Country/Americana to those scared of the word Country. What you got was a cracking compilation that should have sent you off to investigate the rest of the genre, whatever you wanted to call it. Now fully 19 years and change later we have volume five. The series of CDs makes for a good study in how tastes in Americana have shifted over the last couple of decades. Continue reading “Classic Americana Compilations – Sounds to remember”
As this series faltered to a grinding halt at the beginning of summer (which clearly now feels like it was about 20 years ago), the next letter up was “S” which provided so many opportunities it was difficult to narrow it down to one single artist. And then David Berman died and it became obvious of course. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Silver Jews”
Sweden’s First Aid Kit have paid a terrific tribute to Silver Jews frontman David Berman who died earlier this month with two new recordings: one is a cover of the Silver Jews classic ‘Random Rules’ from the ‘American Water’ album (with possibly the best opening line to a song ever) and they’ve also recorded an original song. Continue reading “First Aid Kit pay tribute to David Berman with two songs”
With thanks to BrooklynVegan for highlighting this – tributes are still coming in for David Berman who died last week (we now know sadly from suicide) and some artists have covered songs from Silver Jews over the weekend, including Phosphorescent who performed ‘Trains Across the Sea’ from the 1994’s album ‘Starlight Walker’ and Hiss Golden Messenger who covered the wonderful ‘Dallas’ from 1996’s ‘The Natural Bridge’ album. You can watch both of those performances below. The Brooklyn band Activity, Pennsylvania’s The Districts and the National have also covered Berman’s songs in recent days. Continue reading “Americana acts cover David Berman songs in tribute – Watch”
There couldn’t be a sadder end to the week than the news yesterday of David Berman’s death, even if in a tragic way it bought him into top-sellers lists for the first time in living memory. Berman was one of the great lyricists of our time, and some songs such as ‘How to Rent a Room’ with its opening line: “No I don’t really want to die; I only want to die in your eyes” feel unbearably poignant. Here’s to you and the peace you’ve hopefully found David. Have a good weekend dear reader.
Really sad news this morning of one of American UK’s musical heroes – only last month we gave his new Purple Mountains album a 9 out of 10 – “Not a single mention of any majesties”. The Guardian reports: “David Berman, who was regarded as one of the most poetic voices in US indie rock, has died aged 52. His record label, Drag City, confirmed the news, but hasn’t confirmed the cause of death. Continue reading ““Silver Jews” David Berman dies”
After ten years on the sidelines, David Berman has decided to chime in with a new album under a new name. If we take him at his word, ten years ago his biggest fear was that he might accidentally write the answer song to ‘Shiny Happy People’. Depending on what you think that answer is, you might find yourself wondering if this album is the product of Berman facing that fear. After all, who’s to say what the answer is… Continue reading “Purple Mountains “Purple Mountains” (Drag City, 2019)”
You can finally hear probably the finest lyricist alive today on Spotify (“In 1984 I was hospitalized for approaching perfection” – try that Ed Sheeran) and other streaming services in the UK as Drag City have finally released their entire catalogue bar Joanna Newsom (who once said that Spotify is the “banana of the music industry,” and she detests bananas) online to stream. So you can not only stream David Berman’s band but also the likes of Ty Segall and Bill Callahan. If you’ve never heard Silver Jews before today is a good day to plough through their back catalogue. Continue reading “Silver Jews finally available to stream on Spotify”