Category Archives: Music

An open apology to Dan Bern

Dear Dan Bern. or Bernstein if you prefer,

As you stand on the stage at Jammin’ Java on Thursday night you’ll notice something is not quite right. Something about the crowd is a little off-kilter, but you won’t be able to put your finger on it – won’t be able to figure out what, exactly, is different this time from all the other times you played at Jammin’ Java. Or Iota. Or Birchmere*.

Dan Bern Jammin' Java September 2006
You at Jammin’ Java September 2006
Dan Bern and Rupert at Iota 2002
You and Rupert at Iota 2002

I’ll tell you now, so you’re not distracted on Thursday night. What is different (or what will be different, rather) is the unfortunate fact that I’m not there.

It’s not that I didn’t want to be there – in fact I replied “yes” on your Facebook event. It’s that I can’t be there. See, a friend passed away last week and the memorial service is on Thursday at 7:00 pm. You understand, I know you do.

And before you suggest I go to Friday’s Night Cat show in Easton – not terribly far away from Bethesda, where I live — I cannot do that either. My son, a senior in high school, is a wrestler and has his county wrestling tournament this weekend beginning on Friday. Again, I’m sure you understand why I cannot go to the Friday night performance either.

Good luck on your performances in both Virginia and Maryland this week. May your audiences behave and be appropriately lively and not request “Tiger Woods” too often. May they listen attentively and appreciate your new material as much as they appreciate your older stuff.

Please make plans to return to the area soon. Barring deaths and wrestling tournaments, I’ll be there, I promise.


Dona aka cedarwaxwing

*That you headlined since 1997. I missed your most recent Birchmere performance when you opened for Todd Snyder. I did see you open for him there once, and while I like Todd Snyder, it is hard to hear you for a few songs and then have to hear someone else for the rest of the evening. I also missed your 930 Club performance even though a member of your band at the time got me VIP passes. My babysitter didn’t show up that time.

Red & Blue by Doug Miller

Remember Doug? My multi-talented hair stylist/colorist & friend? He’s back to songwriting and has a fun and timely song ready for the world (and the upcoming elections).

Here are the lyrics:

Red and Blue

It was logical to use red and blue
No one could foresee the damage it would do
Now we stand divided by a load of crap
And that terrible red state/blue state map

When it started I cannot say
But I will never forget November Y2K
When we stared at that damn thing every day
‘Till we began to see ourselves that way

And the media, whether left or right
Likes to keep it simple, paint in black and white
And the red state/blue state paradigm
Reinforced their dumb-ass storyline

Shape Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!
Wake Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!

Everywhere I go I have always found
The greatest folks and much common ground
In this promised land there is room for all
But I fear divided we will fall

And the problem now, from what I can see
Isn’t with the views of group A or B
But the ever growing tendency
To see the other guy as the enemy

Shape Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!
Wake Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!

Riding shotgun with Mom and Dad
On the way to Grandma’s, they got so mad
Which road to take, they could not agree
But there was never a doubt that they both loved me

So when Glen Beck’s off his meds again
In a war of words with Keith Olberman
Over who’s the true American
Can we admit that it’s way out of hand

Shape Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!
Wake Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!

And maybe next time use yellow and green-

Music and lyrics by Doug Miller © 2010
mp3 and lyrics posted with permission

Dan Bern – Still the Messiah

Dean and I saw Dan Bern at Jammin’ Java last night. I think its been a year since the last time I saw him. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen him perform, but it is probably somewhere around 30. Last night’s performance was a good solid show — not particularly noteworthy except that he seemed in a good mood the entire performance.

He played lots of his old and recognizable songs including Tiger Woods, Black Tornado, Suzanne, Chelsea Hotel, God Said No, & Jerusalem. He played a couple of songs from Two Feet Tall, his new CD intended for kids: It Vibrates and Hen Party.

He played The 5th Beatles which always makes me laugh. I guess I’ve not heard it enough to remember all the jokes in it. He also played a song I’d not heard before. The first line was “God is a concept by which we measure our own pain”.

I like sitting near appreciative new-to-Dan folks and seeing / hearing their reaction to some of his lyrics — last night we sat near a table of them. They laughed at all the right places: “I’ve got big balls…” “I am the messiah…”

The icing on the cake last night was running into a friend I’d not seen in years. It felt a little like old times again.