A Familyre Christmas
December 20, 2008 3:12 PM   Subscribe

A Familyre Christmas, Volume 1 and 2. For the second year, Daniel Smith's collective of awkward folk acts is counting down the days until Christmas by giving away a new holiday album. Artists include Danielson, of course, as well as the previously-discussed Half-Handed Cloud and Sufjan Stevens. Also this month, Danielson has a new double CD of live tracks and rarities spanning his/their career.

A few years ago, Rick Moody wrote an excellent essay about the difficult-to-pidgeonhole Christian message in Danielson's music. I wish I could find it online, but alas.
posted by roll truck roll (9 comments total)
I interviewed Daniel Smith a few years ago, and this is what he said about his Christian music:

SLUG: In a place like Salt Lake City, religion’s a big topic. How important is it for your songs to be Christian?
Daniel Smith: First of all I definitely don’t consider what I do to be religious at all. I mean, I’m a Christian, but I don’t make Christian Music. I feel like it’s speaking about spiritual things. I’m going to be very honest in the art making process and a huge part of that is my search for the divine in the everyday. To me that’s very different than if I were to make a statement about being religious in particular. A lot of that can be kind of forced.

SLUG: Do you feel like people say you’re only Christian and sometimes you’re only an indie band?
DS: I think that’s another reason why all these categories are really a problem. If people hear a word like Christian Music, then people make all kinds of decisions about what that means. So prejudice is going to come into that perception before the music has even been heard.

SLUG: Is that one of the reasons why you moved from Tooth and Nail Records to Secretly Canadian Records?
DS: No, no. We were never Christian music. We were on Tooth and Nail because they were the only ones who would put the album out. (laughs) And looking back it’s very fascinating, because by being on Tooth and Nail we were introduced to the Christian music subculture. Our music really upset a lot of people and we had a lot of Christian writers being very mean and very angry. It was never about the content. At the same time there were a lot of Christian kids who loved it. So it shook up a lot of things which I found very exciting. The main stream indie rock crowd really ate it up. They loved the fact that we were being rejected.

He's an incredibly awesome guy. Always fun to see someone perform in a giant tree costume.
posted by OrangeDrink at 3:49 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend Body Piercing Saved My Life, a book about Christian Rock from the 70s to now written by Andrew Beaujon, writer and former art rocker in Eggs (they were on Teen Beat and if you ever see a copy of the double album 96 Exploder, grab it--it's been a fave of mine for a long time). There's a bit about Daniel in it, but not a lot.

Thanks for posting this. I caught last year's, but missed the one for this year.
posted by sleepy pete at 4:06 PM on December 20, 2008

Actually, sleepy pete, you told me about it last year.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:24 PM on December 20, 2008

You know, I thought I'd mentioned it here. Hey, still glad you posted it!

I'm actually still mad at myself for missing Danielson a month of two ago here. I didn't know they were playing until afterward.
posted by sleepy pete at 4:46 PM on December 20, 2008

He's an incredibly awesome guy. Always fun to see someone perform in a giant tree costume.

It's even more funner when he's doing it smack in the Lair of the Calvinists. I would pay $10 cash money for some pics of the audience facial expressions during his set.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:26 PM on December 20, 2008

i don't have any interesting daniel smith stories. i just like the music.

: )
posted by msconduct at 7:43 PM on December 20, 2008

Awkward is probably the last word I would use to describe Woven Hand. Thanks for this post, though; I knew Sufjan did some Christmas music, but I didn't realize all of the Sounds Familyre folks were involved in a similar project.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2008

The one thing that is awkward is the box.net download/play interface; it just hangs for me.
posted by scruss at 2:10 PM on December 21, 2008

It's even more funner when he's doing it smack in the Lair of the Calvinists.

I saw Danielson (Famile) play at that very lair at some point between 2000 and 2004 (not sure exactly when). It was awesome, and the crowd was really into it. Calvin is kind of a strange place. Like most christian colleges with decent academics and avoidable worship, atop the business majors, engineers and pre-seminary students there's a froth of liberal hipsters that are just vaguely spiritual and/or there for unfortunate reasons.
posted by thedaniel at 10:12 PM on December 25, 2008

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