Antlered Auntlord: Daniel Johnston Covers  CD/CS   (HHBTM Records)

Release date: December 5, 2020

Bio: When we started Happy Happy Birthday To Me twenty one years ago, we did so in hopes of sharing the music of the outsider. Simple but smart, earnest but lighthearted--bands and musicians who channeled a real sense of self while not conforming to the musical status quo. People who not just marched to the beat of their own drum—they built that drum themselves. Naturally, we found inspiration in the work of late Texas poet and musician Daniel Johnston—a man more intent in getting his feelings set to tape than he was about sound quality. He understood—even if only on a subconscious level—that the sound of hiss and noise not only didn’t matter, it made his words of hope and heartbreak and fear and desire even more special. We were honored to have him perform at our 2007 Athens Popfest; his set will forever be one of our greatest Popfest performances.

Jump to 2016. We were thrilled to have Daniel Johnston return, our special guest and festival headliner. The plan was simple: we provide Dan’s band. We put together an in-house super-duper backing group featuring Jesse Stinnard from Antlered Aunt Lord / Tunabunny and Jake Ward and Marie A. Uhler from Eureka California. Daniel gave us some leeway and some direction for his setlist, and once settled, the band recorded it and sent Daniel a copy so he could rehearse. Unfortunately, that show would never come to pass; the Gulf Coast was hit with a tropical depression, and all flights from Houston were grounded. We were naturally disappointed, but one really can’t predict these things.

We at HHBTM wanted to pay tribute to one of our biggest influences. After some time passed, we listened to the practice recordings, and we knew what we had to do—but we knew we had to make it special. Thus we present you with those recordings, The Daniel Johnston Covers Tape, packaged on limited edition cassette with only 100 copies being made. But not just any cassette design would do; no, for this release, we pay tribute not only to Daniel and his music, but to Stress Records as well in the medium that made him famous. The setlist offers a healthy mix of his classic songs and deeper cuts from all points in his career. Like the spontaneous, raw recordings of his Stress Records releases, Antlered Auntlord: The Daniel Johnston Covers Tape captures a moment in time from when Daniel was an “is” and not a “was.” Any other tribute would have fallen short; Daniel was life, not death, and while his passing should be mourned, his music should never be treated mournfully.