Rhythm & Views 

Various Artists

Despite the title, Daniel Johnston is very much alive. The paragon of an outsider musician, Johnston is a now middle-aged diagnosed schizophrenic who lives outside of Austin. In the early 1980s, he began writing and recording songs, issuing them on homemade cassettes in Austin, where future tastemakers picked up the tapes and made copies for their friends. It wasn't long before they began popping up all over the country, and Kurt Cobain was wearing T-shirts of Johnston's self-designed cover art on Saturday Night Live.

The music itself was primitive, Johnston accompanying himself on pump organ, guitar or piano, singing in a reedy, cracking voice about Casper the Friendly Ghost, or cows, or, most often (and most affectingly), the love that was always outside of his reach--an "impossible love." All of it added up to something incredibly disarming and heartbreaking.

Discovered Covered is comprised of two CDs, the first of which contains a slew of critics' darlings performing their own renditions of 18 of Johnston's songs; the second is Johnston's original recordings of the same songs, plus one new track.

Newcomers would be well advised to listen to disc two first; you'll only appreciate the care that went into the covers that much more. Some of the brightest spots come courtesy of Clem Snide, TV on the Radio, Death Cab for Cutie, Sparklehorse with the Flaming Lips, Beck, Mercury Rev, Vic Chesnutt, M. Ward and Tom Waits, but all of the musicians involved seem to be here because they truly want to be, not because some label guy thought it would be a good idea. It helps give tributes a good name again.

More by Stephen Seigel

  • Soundbites

    Sacred Machine and Topaz say goodbye
    • Mar 20, 2014
  • Soundbites

    Your guide to enjoying music and avoiding drunken morons on St. Patrick's Day
    • Mar 13, 2014
  • Soundbites

    March Radness invades the east end of downtown and more.
    • Mar 6, 2014
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

25 Great Things to Do in Tucson This Weekend: Oct. 19-21

Let's Listen To Sharkk Heartt's New Single Ahead of Tonight's Show

Tucson Miniature Showcase with Tucson Woman's Club

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

Facebook Activity

© 2018 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation