Originally published on KDHX.org
“I wish my show was a Broadway show: the Josh Tillman story,” says Tillman, otherwise known as prominent folk singer-songwriter Father John Misty.
In his in-depth interview with KDHX’s Nick Acquisto, Tillman contemplates Neil Patrick Harris playing the lead role in a musical recreation of his life and times. But the contemplation doesn’t last long. “It would be a depressing musical,” he deadpans quickly.
The former Fleet Foxes percussionist had a pious, Christian upbringing and a subsequent fall from grace — disillusionment and misgivings seem a requirement to visit the playing field from which Tillman operates. But listening to his songs can also be a revelation, regardless of how alienated they can make you feel. At times darkly humorous but always solemnly severe, his new album, “I Love You, Honeybear,” is an autobiography of a man who has lived many lifetimes in only 34 short years.
In this session, recorded just hours before his opening set for a sold-out show with Alabama Shakes, Tillman sings solo, backed by only his acoustic guitar, and performs some of his most well-known originals, starting with the title track from his recent record, which was recently released as a special edition, heart-shaped vinyl for Record Store Day 2015.
But the final cut, “Bored In The USA,” is the real psalm here, a proper folk anthem for a jilted generation, a condemnation of American hipster attitudes followed by a litany of first world problems. “They gave me useless education / subprime loan / a craftsman home,” he sings. It’s not a boredom born of wasted time, but one of wasted perspective. His compassionate falsetto wavers over the minor chord progression and his thought-provoking message is made even more striking. It’s a classic waiting in the wings.
Hopefully, NPH won’t be able to grow the beard required to play the part.