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Troubadour Bern Gets More Personal On Latest Album

Of the Oakland Press

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Singer-songwriter Dan Bern’s last release, the 2004 EP “My Country II,” was a passionate election-year diatribe. But his new full-length album, “Breathe,” takes on more personal and intimate concerns.

“You’re always aware of the last thing you did,” Bern explains. “Mostly it was just looking, not even ahead but just in the present-ness of where I was. Once that election was over and that particular set of songs was kind of put aside and I took a little break, I started looking at not simply the news of the day.

“It was more of a spiritual thing — deep inside and way outside. These songs kind of came together on that level.”

Bern, an Iowa native, says location also made an impact on “Breathe’s” songs. He lives these days in the southern part of New Mexico, not far from the Mexican border. “I’m not trying to stay out of everybody’s way,” he explains. “I was just trying to find a place where I could get my own way.”

And part of Bern’s way was heading into the desert to spend some time writing the 10 tracks that wound up on “Breathe.”

“There’s a group of them that I wrote while spending time in the desert, and I think you can hear that on the record,” he says. “There’s just cactus and brown earth and open spaces and sky — lots of sky. I was out in the middle of nowhere, just crooning. And I felt like I needed to write some songs that crooner guy could sing.”

Dan Bern and Colin Priestner perform at 8 p.m. Friday (October 6th) at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit

Web Site: www.theark.org

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