New American Language

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jesse Jarnow
Like Jim White's contemporaneous No Such Place, Dan Bern's New American Language attempts to reconfigure the American cultural landscape by appropriating images and converting them to the mysterious currency of strange folk music. Stylistically, Bern is firmly in the tradition of the folk revival, with a significantly more electric sound than on his previous releases. There is more than a little bit of Bob Dylan's pitched moan in his voice, drawing out vowel sounds on the resonant nouns, imbuing the delivery with the high-status illusion of a deeper meaning, even if it is pure nonsense. The album-closing "Thanksgiving Day Parade" is a direct homage to the form of Dylan's ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jesse Jarnow
Like Jim White's contemporaneous No Such Place, Dan Bern's New American Language attempts to reconfigure the American cultural landscape by appropriating images and converting them to the mysterious currency of strange folk music. Stylistically, Bern is firmly in the tradition of the folk revival, with a significantly more electric sound than on his previous releases. There is more than a little bit of Bob Dylan's pitched moan in his voice, drawing out vowel sounds on the resonant nouns, imbuing the delivery with the high-status illusion of a deeper meaning, even if it is pure nonsense. The album-closing "Thanksgiving Day Parade" is a direct homage to the form of Dylan's epic poem-song "Desolation Row," describing a literal procession of esoteric images and obscure characters whose meanings are defined simply by being drawn in the same scene. It is a fitting album-closer. Throughout the disc, nicely colored instruments join Bern's in the mix, including Wil Masisak's myriad keyboards, Eben Grace's guitar and banjo, Paul Kuhn's violin, and many others. On the last track, the instruments join the cavalcade one by one, building to a glorious crescendo. If Bern has a weakness, it is his smugness, but it is one that is easily forgivable in light of his haunting wordplay and sense of American expansiveness.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/9/2001
  • Label: Messenger Records
  • UPC: 632662100929
  • Catalog Number: 9
  • Sales rank: 343,606

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Sweetness - Jake Coffin (3:53)
  2. 2 New American Language (5:12)
  3. 3 Alaska Highway (4:05)
  4. 4 God Said No (5:31)
  5. 5 Turning Over (5:10)
  6. 6 Black Tornado (5:24)
  7. 7 Albuquerque Lullaby (3:54)
  8. 8 Tape (3:37)
  9. 9 Honeydoo! (2:14)
  10. 10 Toledo (5:22)
  11. 11 Rice (5:30)
  12. 12 Thanksgiving Day Parade (10:27)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dan Bern Primary Artist, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Scott Watson Tuba
Paul Kuhn Violin, Vocals, Background Vocals
Colin Mahoney Percussion, Drums
Brian Schey Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals
Wil Masisak Clarinet, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Electric Bass, Glockenspiel, Keyboards, Vocals
Jake Coffin Drums
Eben Grace Banjo, Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar
Clark Jamison Percussion, Vocals
Brent Berry Percussion, Didjeridu
Lisa Donnelly Vocals, Background Vocals
Randy Kaplan Vocals, Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Dan Bern Songwriter
David Glasser Mastering
Chuck Plotkin Producer
Colin Mahoney Producer, Engineer
Wil Masisak Producer, Engineer
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