It was only last month that Backseat Mafia reviewed the great new album from David Berman’s Purple Mountains project, saying it was:

a beautiful album from beginning to end – a bleak vignette of some mid-western USA existence leavened by a twisted sense of humour, a sweet acceptance of the bitterness of a worn out life. Purple Mountains is a delight.

It is with great shock and sadness to hear that Berman died last night at the age of 52.

Berman was a troubadour and a poet, a singular talent that while never achieving great fame or popularity was always revered by critics and followers alike. His skills ranged beyond the world of music as a cartoonist, poet and writer. He faced many demons that he attributed to the shame he felt about his father, a well known lobbyist for supporting guns, alcohol, anti-union activities and other dubious industries.

He had battled addictions, overdoses and one suicide attempt in the past.

Berman’s new album was released after a long hiatus and he was about to commence on an extensive tour across the US. His label Drag City called him “a great friend and one of the most inspiring individuals we’ve ever known.”

This is a tremendously tragic loss.

It’s not the purple hills, it’s not the silver lakes
it’s not the snow cloud shadowed interstates
it’s not the icy, bike chain rain of Portland, Oregon.
Nothing’s wrong and no one’s asking
but the fears so strong it leaves you gasping. 
No way to last out here like this for long.
Cause everywhere I go I know 
all my happiness is gone.

David Berman (Purple Mountains): All My Happiness is Gone