Danny Schmidt – Owls

on

Although he has released some seven previous solo albums, this is my first encounter with Danny Schmidt and if Owls
is anything to go by that is my loss. It is a song that the writer says
explores the myriad of relationships but more in a more non-direct 
existential way. His site has commentary for each song for those who
wish to explore further. For now let’s consider the music on offer
here.  The album was produced by David Goodrich, who, with Schmidt has
given these songs both depth and worth. Recorded in Texas, it employs
some skillfull players who included Goodrich himself on guitars and
piano as well Lloyd Maines on pedal steel and trio of harmony vocalists,
among them Carrie Elkin, with whom Schmidt has previously recorded an
album.

As is often the case with an artist with a proven track record, the
album was funded via Kickstarter and all can feel that their money was
well spent. The immediate standout is Faith Will Always Rise, a
song that tries to have an understanding of something powerful but
intangible. It is the sort of song that could find a wide audience if it
was placed before them. Girl with Lantern Eyes opens the album
in a understated way with a beautiful interplay between the male and
female vocal on a song that considers the one who opens to reach out but
inevitably reaches inwards instead. There is a subtly to the music with
it losing any of its inherent grit and gleam. Recorded, for the most
part, live in the studio it has the energy that that process allows.
That is then tempered with a sensitivity and lightness of touch that
highlights the lyrical and studied nature of Schmidt’s writing. These
are songs that more between indie folk and a more robust Americana.

In the end it comes down to the sound that emerges from the speakers
and this is one that encompasses the whole room and draws you into its
centre. It reveals a more with each play and familiarity makes it an
album to which you can return often. Danny Schmidt is a
singer/songwriter who should be making inroads into the consciousness
that embraced the likes of Josh Ritter. This is music that has been made
for the man himself and those who his music has touched, and if it
remains well under the radar it is nonetheless a success on its own
terms regardless of sales. It is the full package and hopefully the
album that could take Schmidt up to another level. There is not a weak
track here. Check it out – that would be a wise decision.
 

 

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