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Dog Boy Van - EP

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Album Review

Issued in 1997 by Work Records, Dan Bern's six-song EP Dog Boy Van was originally released independently in 1996, before his signing with the label. The record, like his self-titled debut for Work, kicks off with "Jerusalem" (the same recording), but what follows are five witty, insightful, moving tunes that hold their own next to his best work. Like Randy Newman, one of Bern's strengths is the fact that he'll risk offending someone to make his point; he says what needs to be said and then moves on. At the same time, he's not afraid to be sensitive, vulnerable or even self-deprecating. In the best folk tradition, he also has the knack for telling tall tales like in the hilarious "Talkin' Alien Abduction Blues," as well as the ability to extract timeless emotions from a timely subject, as in the affecting, Woody Guthrie-inspired "Oklahoma" (written about the bombing in Oklahoma City). Dog Boy Van is a welcome release from a vital new artist's past.


Born: 27 July 1965 in Mount Vernon, IA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

With the release of his 1997 self-titled debut, Iowa native Dan Bern became the latest, following the likes of John Prine, Elliott Murphy, Steve Forbert, Loudon Wainwright III, and numerous others, to wear the "new Dylan" mantle. With an acoustic guitar, a batch of sharp, witty, insightful songs, and a delivery reminiscent of the man himself, Bern left his home in the Midwest for L.A., where he assaulted the local folk scene. He subsequently made his way to various clubs and festivals nationwide,...
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Dog Boy Van - EP, Dan Bern
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