Earlier today, Drag City shared the tragic news that musician and poet David Berman had died at the age of 52. An important and beloved figure in underground music, tributes have begun to flow onto social media from other musicians. See a few of them, from artists such as Japanese Breakfast, The Mountain Goats, Sadie Dupuis and more, below.
View this post on Instagram
So crushed. I grew up on David Berman and the Silver Jews catalogue in mostly real time... in such a way that his music and lyrics and vocals have touched me to this day and are still growing in significance (and of course a higher high of nostalgia on the side with each revisitation... and there has been so much revisiting these last few years I must say). I was so excited for these upcoming shows and how amazing the new Purple Mountains record is. I was so stoked and so proud of Jarvis and Jeremy and the @woodsist gang for knocking this album outta the park. David's music always hit on a basic human gut level just in the power of his lyrics and voice alone... in a way no other modern artist of my generation has been able to... We were friends but I was looking forward to hopefully becoming closer and was so excited to see him around with purple mountains and hopefully play on “trains across the sea” in philly. Speaking of that tune (and others)... I’ve been singing a few silver jews songs to my daughters at night before they go to bed... since they were little... (it was a no brainer in the dna if my upbringing...) they were always affected by Cassie’s beautiful voice in “Tennessee” and would wanna sing that part... to the extent the first song my oldest daughter Awilda sang from memory (and later we recorded a version of) was "trains across the sea" and she performed "new orleans" at her coop talent show. When my family came thru Nashville David and Cassie took us in graciously and David bought the girls a Mr Games style trinket I guess you might call a diorama music box (?) either way it will be cherished always. Love forever to Cassie and David from Kurt, Suzanne, Awilda and Delphine. “Snow is falling in Manhattan...” “I loved being my mother’s son...” “when god was young... he made the wind and the sun. And since then it’s been a slow education. And you got that one idea again.........” “oh... oh oh... I’m lighting. Oh... oh oh... I’m rain. Oh... oh oh... it’s frightening... I’m not the same. I’m not the same. I’m not the same.” ❤️ God bless @dragcityrecords for releasing so much (and all) of his material. R.I.P. David Berman. You will be missed.
I didn’t know about my friend DCB when I wrote this must have been in the air .His death is fucking dark ..depression is crippling.. he was a one of a kinder the songs he wrote were his main passion esp at the end. Hope death equals peace cuz he could sure use it— Stephen malkmus (@dronecoma) August 8, 2019
View this post on Instagram
We have no words to describe how we feel this morning to learn of the loss of David Berman. All our love goes out to his family & loved ones, the Drag City family and the musicians who journeyed with him. We were fortunate enough to have David contribute his sublime words to both Wildflower and our upcoming album. On a personal level David was always there for me throughout the ups and downs of life and provided much guidance, solace and humor reflecting on our shared struggles. You helped me so much David. His book Actual Air remains a standalone work of real beauty and a heartbreaking look at the magic inherent in the day-to-day. Farewell David . You were the light by which we travelled - r
Hurts that David Berman was suffering so much. He brought me and I’m sure all of you so much joy. Twisted eccentricities of the suburbs were psychedelic cartoons in his lyrics. Sad day. It’s raining in NYC.— Ryley walker (@ryleywalker) August 8, 2019
this is terrible news. as a poet and songwriter and fellow umass alum i couldn’t have respected him more. RIP david, what a loss of a tremendous talent https://t.co/myzgKZ3jQp— speedy ortiz haunted presence? (@sad13) August 7, 2019
if i were asked to name a poetry book with a perfect opening, david berman's 'actual air' would be the first one that comes to mind. i'm always thinking about this poem pic.twitter.com/MS0nOxbU2X— speedy ortiz haunted presence? (@sad13) August 7, 2019
I could sit here all day and quote memorable David Berman couplets and never grow tired. He had no competition. He was the competition.— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) August 7, 2019
Jesus Christ David Berman you fucking legend my heart is sinking— Japanese Breakfast (@Jbrekkie) August 7, 2019
I just downloaded his whole discography for the boat. Was ready to just log off and zone in on a master. We don’t know what happened but it makes me fucking terrified of myself of this job of this sorrow. Of this thing we get asked about as cathartic but never really is.— Japanese Breakfast (@Jbrekkie) August 7, 2019
sad about david berman. what a legend and inspiration. here’s a drawing of his that I love pic.twitter.com/COkbPcSFII— adult mom (@adultmomband) August 7, 2019
very sad about David Berman— Lower Dens (@lowerdens) August 8, 2019