Uncut - 5/03, p.1004 stars out of 5
- "...Bern's caustic observation, musical agility and literate insights take hold on this full-length album....He often recalls Costello at his early, molten peak..."
Dirty Linen - 8/03, p.53
"...The melodies are catchy. The lyrics are confessional, but also wry and witty. The playing is superb. And there's that in-your-face attitude, too..."
Personnel: Dan Bern (vocals, acoustic guitar, dobro); Eben Grace (6-& 12-string guitars, pedal steel guitar, dobro, background vocals); Wil Masisak (electric guitar, piano, Wurlitzer piano, organ, bass, cymbals, background vocals); Brian Schey (bass, background vocals); Jake Coffin (drums, djembe, cymbals, shaker, tambourine, background vocals); Gordy Gale (drums); Russ Fowler, Madame Andrews & The Heavenly Echoes (background vocals).
Recorded at Velvet, Coupe Studios, Boulder, Colorado; Southern Living At It's Finest, Atlanta, Georgia.
Personnel: Dan Bern (vocals, acoustic guitar, dobro); Eben Grace (vocals, guitar, electric guitar, electric 12-string guitar, lap steel guitar, dobro, background vocals); Jake Coffin (vocals, guitar, drums, cowbells, djembe, shaker, tambourine, background vocals); Wil Masisak (vocals, electric guitar, piano, organ, Wurlitzer organ, Mellotron, keyboards, cymbals, background vocals); Brian Schey (vocals, background vocals); Gordy Gale (drums); Russ Fowler (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Russ Fowler.
Recording information: Coupe Studios, Boulder, CO; Southern Living At Its Finest, Atlanta, GA; Velvet Recording Studio, Boulder, CO.
With Fleeting Days, singer/songwriter Dan Bern seems to finally escape from the formidable influence of Bob Dylan on his songwriting. Instead, the 13 songs presented here take their cues more often from the likes of Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen (more the former than the later). Ultimately, though, Bern is his own man. The rampant surrealism of his previous albums is a bit toned down on Fleeting Days, though that's not a complaint. Some of the songs on Fleeting Days are quite lovely in their modesty, including the strange religious love ballad "Eva" and the epic-styled "Fly Away." His sense of humor is intact, though not quite as forced as it was before. Like the title cut of his contemporary Swastika EP, "Crow" is a singsongy rock tune with a solidly quirky central image. Likewise, "Graceland" begins with a fragment of the Paul Simon tune of the same name, before launching into a not always successful pastiche of Elvis-related numbers. Much of the album's sound is defined by the electric snapping rhythm guitar of Eben Grace, which roots the album firmly in Costello territory. ~ Jesse Jarnow