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Saluting Beloved Eccentric Artist Daniel Johnston [1961-2019]

Posted by Billyjam, September 11, 2019 11:49pm | Post a Comment

Beloved eccentric Austin singer/songwriter and artist Daniel Johnston passed away earlier today at age 58 following a heart attack, leaving behind a prolific body of unique work including such recording projects as Yip/ Jump Music and Hi, How Are You. Coincidentally those two 1983 albums were released as a double album set just a few months ago by the Feraltone label with the weird bugged eye happy frog cover art of “Hi How Are You” being a well known example of Johnston’s visual art. There's even a mural version of it in Austin, Texas. 

Born in Sacramento, California and raised in West Virginia, Johnston lived most of his life in Austin TX; a town he became closely associated with and where he first came to fame in the early 80's. It was there his unique music and unique DIY approach to promotion and distribution of it turned heads as he passed out homemade tapes of his music fans he met on the street. Johnston soonafter earned himself a cult following with many of his fans also being musicians. Upon news of his death today numerous musicians and music fans all over took to Twitter to express their sadness of the news of his passing including the staff at Amoeba Music.

Truly an artist’s artist, in 2004 Johnston was celebrated with an album of cover versions of his songs by such admiring artists as Beck, TV On The Radio and Tom Waits. He was also once one of the favorite artists of Kurt Cobain; something that resulted in him being exposed to an even wider audience at the time.

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