In what became his last extended US tour, Daniel Johnston performed in several cities with different backing bands. His Chicago performance was with Jeff Tweedy, Spencer Tweedy, James Elkington, Darin Gray and Liam Kazar. Chicago 2017 includes new arrangements of 14 Johnston standards (plus one Beatles cover), nine performed live at The Vic Theatre, and five pulled from the previous day's session at Wilco's Chicago studio, The Loft.
Profits from this release will be donated to the Johnston family's "Hi How Are You" Foundation for the study and treatment of mental illness and addiction recovery.
Daniel Johnston (1961-2019) emerged onto the alternative "lo-fi" music scene in the mid 1980's distributing a series of homemade music cassettes with his own original songs and artwork. Eventually recording full albums, Daniel gained a worldwide cult following - influencing numerous musicians and songwriters along the way. Famously battling mental illness throughout his life, which only added to the unique nature of his artistic output, Daniel populated the music world with his special talents for more than 25 years.
There is and was only one Daniel and to be able to work with him and help present his music was a huge honor for me and the band, one for which we are all very thankful.
The late singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston was a notoriously erratic live performer, with sublime shows followed by absolute trainwrecks depending on his fragile mental health. The key to finding brilliance, though, was often surrounding him with musicians who truly understood and appreciated his rare gift for unexpected melody and lyrics that merged childlike glee with brutal self-reflection. One of those musicians was Wilco's Jeff Tweedy who put together a marvelous backing band (including his son Spencer on drums, and the masterful guitarist James Elkington) to back up Johnson on a recording session at The Loft, Wilco's studio/clubhouse in Chicago, and a concert at The Vic. Johnston sounds rough throughout, his voice reflecting all the ravages of age and abuse by way of chain smoking and bad dietary decisions. But there's no denying the pure passion he puts into every moment of these recordings, feeling every moment of heartbreaking songs like 'Cold Hard World' and 'True Love Will Find You In The End.' With Johnston now passed on, documents like this feel even more precious and should be treated like the holy texts they are.
- Clear with Black & Blue Vinyl
- Backing band: Jeff Tweedy, Spencer Tweedy, James Elkington, Darin Gray & Liam Kazar
- Recorded and mixed by Tom Schick at The Loft in Chicago, IL
- Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering in Portland, ME
- Released on dBpm Records in Chicago, IL
- Profits from this release will be donated to the Johnston family's "Hi How Are You" Foundation for the study and treatment of mental illness and addiction recovery
- The Story Of An Artist
- Like A Monkey In A Zoo
- Casper The Friendly Ghost
- Hey Joe
- Worried Shoes
- Cold Hard World
- Crazy Love
- Girl Of My Dreams
- Walking The Cow
- Funeral Home
- I'm So Tired
- Speeding Motorcycle
- True Love Will Find You In The End / Spirit World Rising / Funeral Home