Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Under The Covers with Daniel Johnston

"I'm walking down that empty road/
But it ain't empty now/Because I'm on it"

Daniel Johnston is the type of artist who needs covers. He has a bizarre, grating, child-like voice that takes a while to warm to and a short time to grow tired of. He can barely play guitar, and his best music was recorded in his garage using tape decks. Despite this, Johnston is unquestionably one of the most talented and influential songwriters to ever live. Ex-girlfriend (sort of) Kathy McCarty explains her reason for covering Johnston's work:

"Daniel was still in the mental hospital, and he'd been there a long time and I rather thought the possibility existed, sad as it was, that he might never produce anything again. And a lot of the music that he had recorded was to the general populous unlistenable and I felt like people would maybe never get him and he would just be like a flower that bloomed in the desert and was forgotten... So I thought that I would do some of his songs... and do them in such a way that they kind of bloomed and became from, say, a notepaper sketch, they kind of came into a full-color painting."

I highly recommmend the documentary "The Devil and Daniel Johnston." The way that Daniel's life played out is almost mythical. The film includes so much real footage of him growing up that the viewer gets a complete picture of the way that his manic depression influenced his music and took over his life. It also does a great job of talking about his artwork.

Daniel Johnston - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grievience
Clem Snide - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grievience

Daniel Johnston - Worried Shoes
Sufjan Stevens & Daniel Smith - Worried Shoes

Daniel Johnston - True Love Will Find You In The End
Beck - True Love Will Find You In The End

Daniel Johnston - Go
Sparklehorse feat. The Flaming Lips - Go

Daniel Johnston - The Sun Shines Down On Me
Guster - The Sun Shines Down On Me

Daniel Johnston - Devil Town
Tony Lucca - Devil Town
Bright Eyes - Devil Town

Check out his art and music at his official website
Read his bio here
Buy the film here


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome post... thanks! =)