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American Songwriter David Berman Dies Aged 52

Thursday, 08 August 2019 Written by Laura Johnson

David Berman has died aged 52.

The American singer, songwriter and poet's record label Drag City confirmed via social media that he passed away on August 7, though no further details have been revealed. 

Berman is well known for his musical endeavours, in particular cult US band Silver Jews, and most recently Purple Mountains — releasing the self-titled debut album of the latter new moniker in July.

He was joined in Silver Jews by Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich, who together went on to form Pavement. The former is one of numerous musicians who took to their social media accounts to react to the news of his death, with Kurt Vile, the Avalances, the Mountain Goats, Cat Power, Aaron Dessner, Craig Finn, and many more also paying tribute online.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

So crushed. I grew up on David Berman and the Silver Jews catalogue in mostly real time... in such a way that his music and lyrics and vocals have touched me to this day and are still growing in significance (and of course a higher high of nostalgia on the side with each revisitation... and there has been so much revisiting these last few years I must say). I was so excited for these upcoming shows and how amazing the new Purple Mountains record is. I was so stoked and so proud of Jarvis and Jeremy and the @woodsist gang for knocking this album outta the park. David's music always hit on a basic human gut level just in the power of his lyrics and voice alone... in a way no other modern artist of my generation has been able to... We were friends but I was looking forward to hopefully becoming closer and was so excited to see him around with purple mountains and hopefully play on “trains across the sea” in philly. Speaking of that tune (and others)... I’ve been singing a few silver jews songs to my daughters at night before they go to bed... since they were little... (it was a no brainer in the dna of my upbringing...) they were always affected by Cassie’s beautiful voice in “Tennessee” and would wanna sing that part... to the extent the first song my oldest daughter Awilda sang from memory (and later we recorded a version of) was "trains across the sea" and she performed "new orleans" at her co-op talent show. When my family came thru Nashville David and Cassie took us in graciously and David bought the girls a Mr Games style trinket I guess you might call a diorama music box (?) either way it will be cherished always. Love forever to Cassie and David from Kurt, Suzanne, Awilda and Delphine. “Snow is falling in Manhattan...” “I loved being my mother’s son...” “when god was young... he made the wind and the sun. And since then it’s been a slow education. And you got that one idea again.........” “oh... oh oh... I’m lightening. Oh... oh oh... I’m rain. Oh... oh oh... it’s frightening... I’m not the same. I’m not the same. I’m not the same.” ❤️ God bless @dragcityrecords for releasing so much (and all) of his material. R.I.P. David Berman. You will be missed.

A post shared by Kurt Vile (@kurtvile) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We have no words to describe how we feel this morning to learn of the loss of David Berman. All our love goes out to his family & loved ones, the Drag City family and the musicians who journeyed with him. We were fortunate enough to have David contribute his sublime words to both Wildflower and our upcoming album. What a gift. On a personal level David was always there for me throughout the ups and downs of life and provided much guidance, solace and humor reflecting on our shared struggles. You helped me so much David. His book Actual Air remains a standalone work of rare beauty and a heartbreaking look at the magic inherent in the day-to-day. Farewell David ...you are the light by which we travel into this and that - r

A post shared by The Avalanches (@theavalanches) on





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