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Snapshots: Dan Bern w/ Jeffrey Gaines @ The Collective Encore — 6/7/24

Guitarist Dan Bern is having a busy year! In July, he reissued his 2001 album, New American Language, and then in March, he released a new record, Starting Over.

Dan is on a big summer tour, and he recently stopped by The Collective Encore in Columbia, Maryland, with opener Jeffrey Gaines! Steve Satzberg was there to photograph the show.

This article is adapted from a press release.

On June 7 at The Collective Encore, Dan was in good spirits with guitar in hand and harmonica on call.

Dan gives a working man’s voice to topical subjects. New American Language includes standout track “Thanksgiving Day Parade,” for example, which captures a sense of community among working class folks.

“Dan’s epic ‘Thanksgiving Day Parade,’ literally took two years to record,” said the song’s producer, Wil Masisak in the liner notes of the reissue. “The sense that we’d made something worth hearing coupled with the knowledge that we couldn’t have done this alone or without difficulty was immensely rewarding.”

Stream “Thanksgiving Day Parade” by Dan Bern on YouTube:

Dan doesn’t shy away from controversy. On his new album, Dan takes aim at close-minded Americans pushing their religious views to justify their politics on “Bible” with its refrain: “No one in the Bible was white.”

Stream “Bible” by Dan Bern on YouTube:

In addition to being a Jeopardy clue, Dan Bern has written thousands of songs, among such other notable career and personal highlights as writing songs for the Judd Apatow film “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” and Jonathan Demme’s film about Jimmy Carter (which Carter recognized Bern for when introducing Bern to his wife Roslyn, saying, “This is the fellow that wrote that song.”

Bern and his work is something more ingrained than what “national treasure” can measure. What Dan has offered throughout a 30-album and counting career speaks to something deeper in us than any two-word workaround for actual criticism could define. Bern’s work takes those risks, and New American Language is his career’s most precarious statement. In a world filled with plenty of “safer” controversial subjects to write about, Bern could do that if he felt like it. We are better for his decision not to.

Here are some shots of Jeffrey Gaines opening Dan Bern at The Collective Encore on June 7, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Steve Satzberg.

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And here are some photos of Dan Bern headlining The Collective Encore on June 7, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Steve Satzberg.

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