Dan Bern is the most engaging Jewish troubadour to come out of a small Midwestern town since someone named Zimmerman emerged from Hibbing, Minnesota, in '61. Okay, that list is mighty short, and perhaps it would be unfair to lump anyone in with Bob Dylan. But Bern, raised by immigrant parents in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and now a resident of Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico (there is
such a town), has the same lyrical style -- literate, confessional, and sometimes scathing -- as Dylan, Elvis Costello, and Tom Waits.
Fleeting Days, his latest CD and fifth full-length since '97, is likely to be his most accessible from a commercial standpoint. A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and still a lot folk, Days sees Bern borrowing from Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Steve Earle, even Buck Owens, somehow sounding both cornfed and urbane -- no small balancing act. Just ask the former Robert Zimmerman.