Ten years have come and gone since Silver Jews, whose classic run was made somehow finite in 2009, when the voice himself, David Berman, announced his retirement from music. Where the time goes, we do not know. What do they say about old songwriters? We don't know that one either, okay? We're not good with jokes - we're just glad that there's always more songs to be written and sung. That's what raised up Purple Mountains for all of us, after all.
Yes, Purple Mountains is the new nom-de-rock of David Berman. Purple Mountains is also the name of what will be known as one of his greatest albums - full of double-jointed wit and wisdom, up to the neck in his special recipe of handcrafted country-rock joys and sorrows that single legendary in cracked and broken hearts. The songs of Purple Mountains are a potent brew, stitched together from lifetimes, knitting the drift of the years with the tightest lyric construction Berman's ever attempted. Honesty is archly in the air, but lines of incredible bleakness somehow give way to playful distraction and the hiding of surprises for close listeners.
The songs are produced impeccably by Woods' Jarvis Taveniere and Jeremy Earle, buffed up like a hardwood floor ready to be well-trod upon for an evening of romance and dance. And then...Berman's songwriter's bone's never been laid more bare, either - if redemption doesn't come on the lyric sheet, the act of putting these songs into singing, dancing form allows them their finest end - to provide infotainment for others, embodying moments of life and truth via music that elevates with disarming warmth and a reassuring commonality, even as David himself stands outside the communal campfires.
Where are you tonight, America? The things that used to be have slipped away into the darkness without you knowing it, and your children are wandering in a blasted landscape, with only Purple Mountains left to comfort them, and David Berman's shattered fables for company.
Sat-Aug-10 Pine Plains, NY Huichica East
Sun-Aug-11 Jersey City, NJ White Eagle Hall
Mon-Aug-12 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live
Wed-Aug-14 Washington, DC Black Cat
Thu-Aug-15 Asheville, NC Grey Eagle
Fri-Aug-16 Knoxville, TN Pilot Light
Sat-Aug-17 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
Mon-Aug-19 Louisville, KY Odeon
Tue-Aug-20 St. Louis, MO Blueberry Hill Duck Room
Wed-Aug-21 Iowa City, IA The Mill
Fri-Aug-23 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center
Sat-Aug-24 Chicago, IL Sleeping Village
Sun-Aug-25 Chicago, IL Sleeping Village
Tue-Aug-27 Toronto, ON Lee's Palace
Wed-Aug-28 Montreal, QC La Sala Rossa
Fri-Aug-30 Boston, MA Sinclair
Sat-Aug-31 New York, NY Murmrr Theatre
Fri-Sep-06 Raleigh, NC Hopscotch Festival
Fri-Sep-13 Seattle, WA Neptune
Sat-Sep-14 Walla Walla, WA Huichica Walla Walla
Sun-Sep-15 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
Wed-Sep-18 San Francisco, CA Chapel
Sun-Sep-22 Los Angeles, CA Lodge Room