So here's a true story. When I went to the checkout line to purchase the new Father John Misty release Fear Fun on compact disc, the young female cashier was mesmerized by the album's packaging.  Hard to believe, that it was some old hipster who turned her onto one of the highlight releases of the past year.   The outside packaging isn't the half of it ... wait until you open it up ....

Joshua Tillman was brought up in a Christian household in Baltimore and had ambitions to be a pastor.  But sometimes paths change and his journey began at age 12 when he first began playing drums then turned to the guitar.  After briefly attending college in New York, Tillman headed to Seattle where he found work at a bakery, allowing him to begin his music career. In 2006, his first solo effort Minor Works was recorded followed by a two disc compilation of material I Will Return and Long May You Run.  Combining his influences of Nick Drake and Pete Seeger, Tillman continued to forge ahead with the elaborate Cancer and Delirium in 2007 and was getting noticed in the area music scene.

The next big thing coming out of Seattle was Fleet Foxes and in 2008 they brought Tillman in to play drums and go out on the road to support their newly released self-titled album.  Along with being a member of the band through January of 2012, two additional solo projects were released in 2009 titled Vacilando Territory Blues and Year in the Kingdom.  But a period of immobilizing depression and a lost interest in being a songwriter led him on a magical mushroom journey away from Seattle until his van ended up in the famed Laurel Canyon of southern California.  And so began the songwriting and transformation of Joshua Tillman. And from it all there was liberation, and a new voice with a new name was born.

Co-produced by Jonathan Wilson and mixed by Phil Ek, Fear Fun took advantage of having many talented LA musicians drop into the studio to lend a hand including Ben Peeler, Sara Watkins, Wylie Geiber, Keefus Greene, Casey Wescott, Gabriel Noel, and Jonathan Wilson just to name a few.   The album is a complete work, but if you wished to sample a few of the records twelve tracks, the opening "Funtimes in Babylon" is the most radio friendly.  You may hear hints of The Beatles in the ballad "I'm Writing a Novel" and "Well, You Can do it Without Me".  The whimsical old tyme toe tapper "Tee Pee 1-12" is one of the more upbeat numbers while the closing track "Everyman Needs A Companion" is a slow march awakening.

There are two huge 22x22 fold-out pages as part of the elaborate album packaging.  One features lyrics and musician acknowledgements while the other 1 ½ pages has included a copy of Tillman's novel Mostly Hypothetical Mountains.  This gonzo laced story is 31 chapters long and deserves a forum of discussion onto itself.  It just adds to the mystique in completing the ballad of Father John Misty.  

So here's the heads up.  Something's happening, something's coming, and something which could be one of those performances that will literally blow you away might be coming to a town near you.  I just hope the merch table folks bring lots of vinyl 'cause they might just sell out.

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Tags: Fleet, Foxes, Jonathan, album, best, canyon, cd, concerts, ek, facebook, More…father, fear, fun, john, joshua, laurel, minkin's, misty, music, novel, of, phil, record, release, seattle, tillman, vinyl, wilson

Comment by TenLayers on January 8, 2013 at 8:02am

I see he's doing two nights at the Fillmore in San Francisco.  Might have to check it out.

Comment by TMAC on January 8, 2013 at 9:50am

I saw FJM in Austin earlier this year at a small show at The Parish. I wasn't expecting much, although I had given a listen to Fear Fun and really liked it. The moment he took the stage, though, I was blown to hell away, and so was the rest of the audience. He is a phenom. One of the best shows I've ever seen, hands down, and Fear Fun has since become one of my top albums of the generously rewards repeat listens. Note: the print from the Parish show is absolutely incredible...not sure what else he has in store, but I'd stalk the merch table if I were you.

Comment by Kyla Fairchild on January 8, 2013 at 10:49am

He's opening for The Walkmen in Seattle on the 27th and the show sold out right away so I was very happy to see they added a second show on the 29th.  I've been following Josh's career for many years. I've seen FJM a couple times now and it's a great live show.  He's grown into a true entertainer. His Father John Misty persona is so different from how he was behind the drum kit with the Fleetfoxes and on his J. Tillman albums and live shows.  His Father John Misty musical alter ego reminds me of a more edgy modern day 60's crooner showman along the lines of Tom Jones with a lot of hip shaking and such. A couple of my guy friends were slightly put off by his over the top sexy showmanship but most of the crowd was going wild for it. Seeing the live show made me love the record even more.

Not quite sure what to make of this video but I'm just going to assume it's part of the act or the "bat shit crazy video" he refers to in the interview below:

Comment by Kyla Fairchild on January 8, 2013 at 11:13am

The sound quality isn't very good on this video but it's a great representation of the stage presence and he also gets extra points for a Canned Heat cover:

Here's a J. Tillman video for contrast:


Comment by Jay Minkin on January 8, 2013 at 12:44pm

Father John Misty is playing a show this Friday where I hail from at a small concert venue called The Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio.  Thank you for the comments ... and expect TenLayers to report back after the concert.  Kyla, thank you for your support ... nice mention in the e-blast .... it's greatly appreciated. 

Comment by denton fabrics on January 8, 2013 at 5:45pm
This was one of my favorite albums of 2012. Thanks for the background information.
Comment by Kyla Fairchild on January 8, 2013 at 6:35pm

Here an interview video that I enjoyed.  I also added a video that fully captures FJM's stage antics above so check that out.

Comment by Jay Minkin on January 12, 2013 at 9:17am

Last night in Cleveland was pretty crazy amazing .... 

Comment by Kyla Fairchild on January 12, 2013 at 10:17am

Do tell!  More details?


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.