Built To Spill Releases New Album ‘Built To Spill Plays The Songs Of Daniel Johnston’

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Built to Spill shared their tribute album to the late singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, Built To Spill Plays The Songs Of Daniel Johnston. Released by Ernest Jenning Record Co., the covers collection features 11 of Johnston’s original songs.

Johnston embarked on a final tour in 2017 that saw the eclectic musician from Austin, Texas backed by different bands made up of performers integral to the cities where the shows were held. Among those who supported Johnston were Jeff Tweedy & Friends, Preservation All-Stars, The Districts, Modern Baseball and Built To Spill. The band was given a list of 100 songs written by Johnston to learn for the tour. The tribute album contains some of Johnston’s lesser-known, deeper cuts.

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“It’s supposed to sound like a demo tape, like just people in a room playing,” co-founding guitarist Doug Martsch told Apple Music. “And that’s why I kind of just wanted it for friends—like, ‘Here’s what we sounded like when we were learning these songs’ … If I want to listen to Daniel Johnston, I want to listen to that early stuff, where a lot of it’s just in his head and you kind of imagine that he wishes he had a band but he doesn’t. He still is able to make the song sound big even though it’s just him by himself with a guitar or keyboard.”

Recorded by Jim Roth during sessions held in 2018, Plays The Songs Of Daniel Johnston features Martsch with former Built To Spill members, drummer Steve Gere and bassist Jason Albertini. Johnston died in September 2019 at the age of 58 while production on the album was underway.

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