Music Day 2

Daniel Johnston and the Hymns

by Andrew Gilstrap

20 March 2009


Music Day 2: Daniel Johnston and the Hymns

I’m always a little uneasy at a Daniel Johnston show because I’m unsure of the crowd’s motives. Are they there out of sincere appreciation, or for gawking? I certainly believe it’s possible to appreciate Johnston; he definitely appeals to my own desire for straightforward, uncomplicated, disarming connection through music. And in this case, I think the SXSW crowd was genuinely there to hear Johnston. The show started off with two songs by the Hymns, who drip allegiance to ‘60s garage rock. Then, Johnston came out with his notebook of lyrics and performed solo and with another acoustic guitarist.  The Hymns came back on to wrap things up behind Johnston, giving his last couple of songs some bluesy muscle.


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