In case you aren’t up on the American folk music scene, let me introduce you to a little known but much beloved artist, known simply as J Tillman.
J (Josh) began playing in 2001 with Philadelphia’s Saxon Shore and then moved it on over to Seattle to join Fleet Foxes as their drummer and one portion of the three-part harmony sound that the band is best known for.
Since 2009 I’ve seen Fleet Foxes three times and I can say every time is a new and beautiful experience. When I heard that Tillman was leaving I was sure that there would be no one who could replace his humor and musical talent, and most especially, his voice.
His new gig under the name Father John Misty brings him again to the spotlight (much like when he did with previous solo albums) and I’m happily digging his new adventure.
“ ‘Misty is a drunk, shamanic drifter character offering you a cup of his home-brewed ayahuasca tea,” is how Tillman describes his musical alter-ego, a persona that has decidedly more in common with Charles Bukowski than Ziggy Stardust. There is nothing naive or sentimental about him. He’s a loner who doesn’t see the world as being worth saving. ‘Father John Misty’ is not really even meant to be taken as a literal person, more like an avatar of mischief. He likes to needle people a little and freak ‘em out. But I could’ve called him ‘Steve.’”
There’s a great interview over at Apes On Tape where he explains his thoughts on music, his process, the literary influences on his work and his interest in pagan rituals.
And now for some tunage from a few of Tillman’s many incarnations…