PRESS RELEASE - June 18, 2004 TRIBUTE CD announced
NEW YORK, NY: Gammon Records announced today that it will release "The Late, Great Daniel Johnston : Discovered Covered," a benefit album for the legendary outsider songwriter, Daniel Johnston, on September 21.
The album will feature exclusive tracks from high profile artists such as Beck, Tom Waits, Bright Eyes, Sparklehorse w/ The Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie, Eels, TV on the Radio, Clem Snide, Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, JT Leroy's band Thistle, Guster and eight other artists covering Johnston's songs. A second disc will be included with the original versions of all the songs, culled from Johnston's vast catalogue (several tracks previously only available on cassette).
This project showcases Daniel Johnston as a pop genius. When hearing Johnston for the first time most people are taken aback because of the rawness of the music and Johnston's childlike voice. But, when you dig deeper, past the audio assault, it's easy to recognize Johnston's honesty. Not only can you see Johnston's heart on his sleeve but you watch it pump blood as it beats.
Daniel Johnston is regarded as the godfather of lo-fi music making, with years of creating modern day field recordings straight to a $59 boom box to his credit. It was not until later in his career that he would go in to a proper studio to work with producers like Kramer, King Coffee and Brian Beattie.
Daniel Johnston found a new level of fame in the early 1990s thanks to Kurt Cobain, who championed him in interviews as his all-time favorite songwriter and was often photographed wearing the famous Daniel Johnston "Hi, How are You?" frog logo shirt.
Johnston also painted the frog logo as a mural on the side of the Record Exchange music store in Austin, TX (he lives in nearby Waller, TX) and although the store recently closed down, the logo was preserved, thanks to the efforts of protestors in Austin, and to the good nature of the new host of the mural - the burrito joint Baja Fresh, who went out of their way to make sure his artwork remained intact.
The executive producers of "The Late Great Daniel Johnston" are Mark Linkous (of Sparklehorse) and Jordan Trachtenberg (Gammon Records). After many cups of coffee and cigarettes during the recording of "Fear Yourself" (Johnston's last project produced by Linkous for Gammon), they came up with the idea of a benefit project for Johnston. The goals were simple: raise money for Johnston who, after suffering from a bi-polar disorder for most of his adult life and failing to earn a living from his music, from still lives with his parents at the age of 42. The hope is to allow Johnston's parents to be able to buy the house next door where he can live on his own with the assistance of caretakers. They also knew if Johnston's songs were covered by an array of eclectic, famous artists that he would likely find thousands of new fans.
So, Linkous and Trachtenberg put together what they felt were the best 50 songs Johnston has written (he's written hundreds of songs) and started calling artists who they thought were kindered spirits. It took a little over two years to complete "Discovered Covered" and the attention to detail shows in the finished product. The resulting album is stunning - hearing Daniel Johnston's songs fully realized by artists he's had a profound influence on is a cathartic experience.
1) Teenage Fanclub W/ Jad Fair ~ My Life Is Starting Over Again
2) Clem Snide ~ Grievence
3) Gordon Gano ~ Impossible Love
4) Eels ~ Living Life
5) T.V. On The Radio ~ Walking The Cow
6) The Rabbit ~ Good Morning You
7) Calvin Johnson ~ Sorry Entertainer
8) Bright Eyes - Devil Town
9) Death Cab For Cutie ~ Dream Scream
10) Beck - Things Last A Long Time
11) Sparklehorse w/ Flaming Lips - Go
12) Mercury Rev ~ Blue Cloud
13) Thistle - Love Not Dead
14) Vic Chesnutt ~ Like A Monkey In The Zoo
15) Starlight Mints ~ Dead Lovers Twisted Heart
16) M. Ward ~ Story Of An Artist
17) Guster ~ The Sun Shines Down On Me
18) Tom Waits - King Kong
Selected quotes from the artists:
"You can add "est" to the end of everything Daniel does. His happy songs are the happiest, his sad songs the saddest, his funny songs the funniest, and his sweet songs the sweetest. He's better than best. He's the bestest." -Jad Fair
"It's true. Any one of us would sell our mothers to write a song as good as one of Daniel's." -Mark Oliver Everett, aka E of EELS
"I played a show with Daniel once and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before." -Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes
"I wonder if Daniel has some sort of fancy calculator, like the TI-84 we had to get for calculus, that he uses to compose his songs. I can't see any other way that so much truth, melody and unassuming charm could possibly live in the same space. I bet his quadratic equation would look great on paper. I wonder if it would involve a duck?" -Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie
"Daniel Johnston is the purist and most unpretentious artist of our generation" -Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse
"Why is it that music so brilliantly written and honestly performed should only reach a small niche audience? The recording is secondary to the crafting and yet it feels as if his recordings convey the songs the way they were meant to be heard. He's uninhibited, unpredictable, and mostly unappreciated, but I've yet to meet a songwriter who isn't floored when they hear Daniel's work." -Brian Rosenworcel of Guster
For more information please visit:www.rejectedunknown.com www.hihowareyou.com www.gammonrecords.com
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