Every year more ears come to hear David Berman, author of the Silver Jews songbook, as the most lyrical songwriter of his generation: unrivaled, unbridled, and undone.

In the spring of 2019, Berman returned after a decade-long musical hiatus with a new album from a previously rumored, much-anticipated project he called Purple Mountains, and what feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy: to share some more of himself before taking his own life later that summer at the age of 52.

I could hear Purple Mountains’ abrupt end echoing and reached out to Cyrus Gengras, the band’s guitarist—had they ever made it to the stage—for a better glimpse of the late, great Berman and his musical acolytes, who were alongside the singer-songwriter in his final days, documented here. What follows is based on phone interviews with Cyrus, in addition to other would-be bandmates Cassandra Jenkins and Katie Von Schleicher.



You need to log in or subscribe to read on

Forgot username or password?



The Archive Collection, Mister Dream Whip T-Shirt


Boy Howdy! T-Shirts

Boy Howdy!

Boy Howdy! glassware


CREEM +001

Back Issues