By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Some musicians have written political songs in recent months. Other musicians have performed charity concerts trying to get out the votes for Democratic candidates. Singer/songwriter Dan Bern has just made his position more clear than any of them by calling his new release My Country II: Music to Beat Bush By.
Bern has been one of this nation's best-kept songwriting secrets for quite a few years now. He's most obviously influenced by the young Bob Dylan, though vocal comparisons to Elvis Costello and Jules Shear come up from time to time. Bern specializes in writing sharp, incisive, frequently hilarious and generally over-the-top lyrics, which he sets to meandering, sing-song melodies halfway between folk and pop.
He's written about being the Messiah, about having big balls and wanting to be Tiger Woods, about his love for his favorite women vocalists, and now about being the president of the United States.
All the songs on My Country II will remain topical no matter who wins in November -- except for the last song. It's called "Bush Must Be Defeated," and the odds are good that Bern will get his audiences chanting along at the end of his concerts for the next few weeks only. If you're looking to chant with him, remember that this is an early 7 p.m. performance.