Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Music: Daniel Johnston

I "discovered" Daniel Johnston about fifteen years after everyone else had. It's often that way with me. I have excellent taste, retroactively.

Johnston, a prolific visual artist and songwriter, has struggled with schizophrenia for most of his adult life. Many of his songs touch on the heartbreak of love; or in his case, of not being able to love. In the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, the singer is reunited with a long-lost unrequited love from his youth, a woman who became sort of an imaginary muse. It's one of many very moving scenes in the film. One cannot help but wonder what kind of life he might have had if not for his illness.

The album The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered, Covered is a beautiful introduction to his work. The two-disc set includes ten of his songs, first performed by him and then covered by various artists. I've included "Go" by Sparklehorse and "King Kong" by Tom Waits. The third track is Johnston himself, singing "True Love Will Find You In The End."

This is a promise with a catch
Only if you're looking can it find you

‘Cause true love is searching too,
But how can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?

Hi How Are You? The Official Daniel Johnston Site [Link]

Rejected Unknown. The Daniel Johnston Fan Site [Link]

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