R.I.P. David Berman of Silver Jews and Purple Mountains

Photo: DC Berman

BY Matt BobkinPublished Aug 8, 2019

Singer-songwriter David Berman of Silver Jews and Purple Mountains has died. His label, Drag City, announced his passing in a statement. He was 52.

In a tweet, Drag City wrote, "We couldn't be more sorry to tell you this. David Berman passed away earlier today. A great friend and one of the most inspiring individuals we've ever known is gone. Rest easy, David."

Born in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1967, Berman met future Pavement members Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich in the 1980s at the University of Virginia. The trio recorded as Silver Jews, which turned into Berman's songwriting vehicle once Malkmus and Nastanovich left to focus on Pavement.

As Silver Jews, Berman released six albums on Drag City between 1994 and 2008 with a rotating series of collaborators, including Malkmus and Nastanovich. In 2009, Berman ended Silver Jews and retired from music.

In late 2018, Nastanovich revealed that Berman was mounting a return to music under the name Purple Mountains. Purple Mountains released a self-titled album on Drag City on July 12, 2019. Purple Mountains was set to embark on a North American tour beginning in Pine Plains, NY this Saturday (August 10), with Canadian stops in Toronto and Montreal at the end of the month.

You can find Drag City's post below, followed by select tributes. Read our recent interview with Berman.

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