It's hard to believe Daniel Johnston is 50. He looks every bit of it, or he did at the ill-fated but enjoyable Ghoulsfest in October. The Daniel Johnston in his songs, though, remains the wide-eyed incurable romantic that first surfaced in mid-'80s Austin and is depicted in Infernal Bridegroom/Catastrophic Theater's memorable productions Speeding Motorcycle and Life Is Happy and Sad, as well as Jeff Feuerzeig's excellent 2006 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Johnston's struggles with mental illness (and his weight) have become well-known, as has his championing by artists such as Kurt Cobain, the Butthole Surfers and Sonic Youth, but he's never stopped creating art or music. Still living in his hometown of Waller, Johnston hit another career peak on 2009's well-received Is and Always Was, where producer Jason Falkner tossed out Johnston's famously lo-fi aesthetic for a more conventional pop approach. Sometimes unsettling, sometimes beautiful, both Johnston and his music are never less than 100 percent honest.
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