I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Daniel Johnston, the prolific but troubled lo-fi singer-songwriter and artist from Austin, Texas. I first became aware of his music back in the 90’s (I knew a ton about the music industry back then, not so much anymore…).
There was always something pure and sweet but also painful about his music. He’d struggled for years with mental health issues, but had a devoted following, including some big names like Kurt Cobain and Tom Waits. Later in life he dealt with health issues, but had a ‘farewell tour’ in 2017 with the guys from Wilco, Built to Spill, and Fugazi serving as his backing band.
Johnson was prolific to the end, telling the New York Times, “I can’t stop writing. If I did stop, there could be nothing. Maybe everything would stop. So I won’t stop. I’ve got to keep it going.”