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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, where he garnered a great deal of notice and eventually caught the attention of Sony Records' Work Group subsidiary, with whom he inked a deal. Later in 1997, Work made available Dog Boy Van, his excellent 1996 indie release that was recorded prior to his signing with the label. The proper follow-up to Dan Bern, Fifty Eggs (produced by Ani DiFranco), was issued in March 1998 while the independent two-CD set Smartie Mine came out later the same year. No longer a resident of the Midwest, Bern settled in New Mexico in early 2002. Fleeting Days appeared the next spring. In 2004, Bern released the politically charged EP My Country II. It was followed in 2006 by the full-length Breathe.