Geoff Berner – 7 Plague Songs – 2023


COAX Records artist Geoff Berner (pronouns: He/him) is a Jewish singer/songwriter/accordion player/novelist/political activist living in Vancouver on the unceded lands of the Musqueum, Squamish and Tsleil-Watouth peoples.

Over the last 25 years, he’s garnered a sizable, enthusiastic international cult following, having toured in 17 countries and played live on national radio in 7 of them. He’s opened for rock stars in stadiums, led 1000s in rude sing-a-longs from festival mainstages, and played nearly every dirty little cafe bar in Western Europe. He’s toured Scandinavia, extensively and often.

He’s spent much of his career playing klezmer music, the folk music of Eastern European Jews, but he also plays and writes folk songs in English, often of a lefty, satirical political nature. Those songs have been covered by a long of other artists, including: The Be Good Tanyas (“Light Enough to Travel”), Corb Lund (“That’s What Keeps the Rent Down, Baby”) Kaizers Orchestra (“Whiskey Rabbi”), Rae Spoon (“Unlistenable Song”) and Ben Caplan (“Traveller’s Curse).

His latest album, “7 Plague Songs” is his Covid Folk Songs album. During this ongoing, definitely-not-over pandemic, Berner has chosen to stay off the road and out of the bars. “I refuse to be a Pied Piper of mass infection,” he says. With the release of the new album, he’s beginning to play outdoor shows with strict Covid safety protocols, to ensure safety and accessibility for everyone.

“7 Plague Songs” is intended to perform the traditional role of satire: afflicting those who are comfortable with the avalanche of death and disability that Covid is bringing, and comforting those afflicted by Long Covid, mourning the loss of loved ones who died because of governments’ scandalous neglect of public health, or coping with the gaslighting of a dominant political culture determined to deal with overlapping crises by simply pretending they are over.”

“My message to you, if you know the pandemic isn’t over, is: ‘You are not alone.’”
The first single and video from the album is “How To Build A Corsi-Rosenthal Box”, already endorsed by the Corsi-Rosenthal box co-inventor, Jim Rosenthal: “OK. We have a leader in the most creative/entertaining video on making a #corsirosenthalbox. This is fantastic! (and accurate).