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Dan Bern: Critiquing the System

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Dan Bern (sometimes use the name aka Bernstein to perform his songs) is an American songwriter, singer, guitarist and painter. His musical style is frequently compared to the music of other artists like Woody Guthrie, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. This is reflected in songs like “Talkin’ Woody, Bob, Bruce and Dan Blues” included in his disc “Smartie Mine” that is like a parody about the influence of those singers in his musical style. Dan had toured with artists like Ani DiFranco.

His songs are widely recognized for his sarcasm and literary lyrics. Dan also likes to make a mixture of folk music played under rock instrumentation. He also likes to write, actually he wrote the novel Quitting Science. But he wrote it under the pseudonym Cunliffe Merriwether. However the preface of that same book is under his real name.

Some of the lyrics of his songs have been hardly critiqued due to the controversy of them. For example the songs against the government and some people are “Bush Must Be Defeated” (released during the presidential elections in 2004) and the song “President”. Those songs clearly talk about the US government system and their governors.

Dan says that he feels much influenced by the works of other authors such like Charles Bukowski, James Thurber, John Fante and others. He also says that he believes in the power of the words to create conscience in the people. Bern started his musical career in 1996 and since that year until the 2004 he has released 10 discs.

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