FATHER JOHN Misty, the alter-ego of singer-songwriter and Fleet Foxes drummer J Tillman, will play Strange Brew at the Róisín Dubh on Thursday October 22.
Tillman has had a solo career for more than a decade, releasing his first solo album in 2003. Between 2008 and 2012 he joined Fleet Foxes, before resuming solo duties that year, under Father John Misty guise, subsequently releasing two albums, Fear Fun, and I Love You, Honeybear. It is through ...Honeybear that Tillman has really come to prominence in the USA, most notably following his performance of ‘Bored In The USA’, accompanied by a 22-piece string section, on The Late Show with David Letterman:
As J Tillman, his solo material is stark, brooding, often emotionally powerful. As Father John Misty, that latter quality is still present, but it comes buried in layers of irony and sarcasm. ...Honeybear songs like ‘Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins )’, satirise both American obsessions with violence and old fashioned romance: “I want to take you in the kitchen/lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in.”
Other tracks, such as ‘The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt’, make a mockery of American speech patterns and its, not always positive, influence upon spoken English: “She says ‘Literally, music is the air I breath’/and the malaprops make me want to f****n’ scream/I wonder if she even knows what that word means/well it’s literally not that.”
Musically ...Honeybear is both pastiche of and homage to American country, roots-rock, and 1970s singer-songwriter/soft-rock. “There’s a case to be made that it sounds and acts a bit like solo-era John Lennon, Scott Walker, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, and Dory Previn,” Tillman said, “while taking more than a few cues from Woody Allen, Kurt Vonnegut, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Muhammad Ali.”
The album has won Tillman enormous critical acclaim, but behind all the biting satire, dark humour, and sexual explicitness, much of the initial inspiration comes from his marriage to photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman.
“I Love You, Honeybear is a concept album about a guy named Josh Tillman who spends quite a bit of time banging his head against walls, cultivating weak ties with strangers, and generally avoiding intimacy at all costs,” the artist has said. “This all serves to fuel a version of himself that his self-loathing narcissism can deal with. We see him engaging in all manner of regrettable behaviour.
“In a parking lot somewhere he meets Emma, who inspires in him a vision of a life wherein being truly seen is not synonymous with shame, but possibly true liberation and sublime, unfettered, creativity. These ambitions are initially thwarted as jealousy, self-destruction and other charming human character traits emerge. Josh Tillman confesses as much all throughout...I won’t give away the ending, but sex, violence, profanity and excavations of the male psyche abound.”
Tickets are available at www.roisindubh.net, the Ticket Desk at OMG Zhivago, Shop Street, and The Róisín Dubh.