Another album from Red House Records who are building up an impressive artist roster, Danny Schmidt is another Austin based songwriter who is touring the UK later this month. With fellow label artist Carrie Elkin and Raina Rose assisting on harmony vocals this is a fine, laid back acoustic stroll. Aided and abetted on occasion by Will sexton on bass and guitar, Ray Bonneville on harmonica and Keith Gary on piano the overall feel is limpid and relaxed with Schmidt’s vocals soothing in the main. For a writer who has penned ten of the eleven songs on show it might be considered disheartening for one to latch on to the only cover, a version of Dylan’s Buckets Of Rain initially. However it has to be said that this reading is sublime indeed. The weary delivery with some fine acoustic guitar interplay and a warm and sympathetic bass sets this up as one of the best Dylan covers I’ve heard, simply superb.
While Schmidt describes the album as a struggle “around the process of making peace with Commitment” (see his webpage for his detailed notes on the album and the lyrics) and speaks of the moon as a metaphor, always changing but always there, the listener can simply wallow in some fine meditations such as Guilty By Association Blues which starts out like a talking blues before going into a fantasy about capitalism (I think) and Almost Round The World which actually talks about the confusion raised by the previous song. When its references to parrots and pigs were taken up wrongly by animal rights activists he describes the effect this had on him and his family. Both are delivered in a mellifluous manner and invite repeated listening.
Overall this is an album that can induce a sense of calm, an opportunity to listen to some lyrics that merit some thought. The sprightly Ragtime Ragtime Blues slightly upsets the mood but other than that its a fine listen.
Schmidt plays in the UK at the end of June and the beginning of July including a date in Glasgow at Lauries Acoustic Music Bar on 5th July. I bet there won’t be a queue outside so go along and wallow in his moonshine.Other dates on his webpage
Almost Around The World