David Berman, of Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, dies aged 52

David Berman news

The acclaimed songwriter and poet was set to start a North American tour this weekend.

David Berman, known for projects Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, has died. He was 52. News of his death was confirmed yesterday (7 August) by the artist’s longtime label Drag City Records. No cause of death has yet been confirmed.

The label described Berman as “a great friend and one of the most inspiring individuals we’ve ever known.”

Berman founded the indie band Silver Jews in the late 80s with Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich. Silver Jews made several line-up changes over the years, and went on to release six studio albums between 1994 and 2008. Berman remained the only consistent member of the band.

The acclaimed songwriter established a strong fanbase with Silver Jews and gained a reputation as a poet. He released his first book of poetry, named Actual Air, in 1999.

After taking almost a decade-long hiatus from music when Silver Jews disbanded in 2009, Berman returned with the new project Purple Mountains. The group was made up of Berman and backed by the folk rock band Woods. They made their debut earlier this year, in July, with a self-titled album. The group were set to embark on a North American tour this weekend.