If you were to ask who I was a “true fan” of, it would probably be Daniel Lanois. Lanois is better known — to most folks who know him at all — as a producer (of U2, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson and Emmylou Harris) and as a musical collaborator, most notably with Brian Eno. But he’s also a musician in his own right and has been making albums since 1989, when Acadie came out and quickly became one of my all-time favorite albums. I’m enough of a fan that when this morning I found out he’d made another album without me knowing about it — the here is what is album you see pictured above — I actually got irritated with myself that I had somehow missed it coming out. My Lanois Fanboy sense wasn’t tingling! Well, I’ve since corrected the error: Not only did I immediately download the MP3 version of the album, but I also went to Lanois’ Web site and shelled out $60 for the special deluxe limited edition CD/DVD package that comes complete with an autographed picture. I feel better now, thanks.
While I was at the Web site, I learned that Lanois, who had previously been signed to Warner Bros records and then to Anti records, has gone the self-releasing route and has now made all his records available as downloads through his site, in most cases both as 192kbps mp3s (for $9) and as high-resolution WAVs (for $10), which can be paid for via PayPal. Naturally, I think this is good news, and I recommend that each of you go instantly to his site and pick up a couple of albums. My suggestion, if you are not familiar with his work, is to pick up one or both of his first two albums, Acadie and For the Beauty of Wynona, before heading off to the later albums, which are generally a bit trippier — i.e., the sort of stuff people who are already huge fans want (the albums are also available on Amazon, both as CDs and as mp3s, if you don’t want to deal with PayPallery).
To help you decide whether Daniel Lanois is for you, musically speaking, here’s probably his best-known song, “The Maker,” off Acadie. It’s been covered by folks like Emmylou Harris, Dave Matthews and Willie Nelson, but the original version is still my favorite. Enjoy.