A Review Of The Danny Schmidt CD
"Parables & Primes"

"Parables & Primes"
by Danny Schmidt

Copyright 2005
Live Once Records 9449-2

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 9/05
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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If the mystery, music and flavor of Townes Van Zandt and Dave Carter, along with a hint of Al Grierson and Jack Hardy, could be channeled, then Danny Schmidt has done so.

Schmidt, enigmatic, esoteric, exhilarating and effusive, is a tale teller of the human spectrum--comedy, tragedy and most every point in between. But what separates him from so many is how insightfully he does it.

The eminence of his latest release stems not only from Schmidt piecing together music and meaning in very melodious form, but also his remarkably distinct fashion--call it a musical Rubik's cube.

Yes, the songs here are analogous to the content of "The Atlantic" or "The New Yorker," not high brow but highly challenging AND satisfying, packed with mature discernment. For those who love to decipher and derive meaning from art, this release is for you. For the fans who can't wait to get their hands on the latest edition of "Us" or "People," steer clear.

A grand example is a verse from "This Too Shall Pass," the opening cut:
"...We think too big--we think our self is one whole thing
And we claim that this collection has a name and is a being
But deep inside, when every cell divides
It sets upon the rule that states self-interest is divine
Schmidt's "Neil Young" provides a most unusually descriptive snapshot or two or three of a night in a couple's relationship. "The Dark Eyed Prince" has nothing whatsoever to do with a certain musician from the Twin Cities. But it's lyrical brilliance is Dave Carter-esque.

"Happy All The Time" is a jazzy-inflected cut that uses the title phrase over and over but, remarkably, the song suffers not from such redundancy. "Riddle and Lies" laments the dodging, feinting and camouflaging that perplexes and infects human relationships.

"Esmee By The River" seems unconnected to JD Salinger's "For Esme With Love and Squalor." However, it is infused with strains of Townes Van Zandt.

"Stained Glass" is a masterpiece. A church's stained glass window is smashed into pieces by a falling tree, and Schmidt's descriptive writing about it being pieced back together and unveiled is ingenious: He offers 19 graphic and insightful lines of verse and then concludes with this:
"...As the thunder and the hardwood settled back into place
God removed his veil to show the scars upon his face
And some folks prayed in reverence and some folks prayed in fear
As all the shades and chaos in the glass became a mirror."
A jilted husband kills his wife's lover in "Ghosts," but that is only the beginning. The condemned-to-die husband offers an amazingly literate admonition of the burden of anyone who has done wrong and taken life.

The Nashville music scene is given a scathing once-over in "Beggars & Mules." True to Schmidt's life experience or not, it's a brilliantly accurate depiction. Just as Dave Carter's music has been described in relation to succeeding it in Nashville: 'way too many words'--this also applies to Schmidt's creations..

"A Circus of Clowns" brings to mind the line "...the circus is in town..." from Dylan's "Desolation Row." Schmidt's surreal scenarios in this song match those of Dylan's creation.

The presentation is primarily Schmidt's voice and his words. Generally, one instrument, sometimes two, accompanies him on each offering.

It's only September, but this release will be #1 on my list of CDs of the year. Yes, it is that good. Thank you, Danny Schmidt, for introducing such beauty into my life and this world.

Schmidt, on vocals and guitar, is backed by Lloyd Maines on steel guitar; Guy Forsyth on harmonica; Michael Longoria on drums; Bruce Hughes on bass; Brandon Anthony on violin; Ferni Castillo on trumpet; Stefano Intelidano on accordian and organ; Philip "Pops" Schmidr on accordian; Noelle Hampton and Niki Duncan on harmonies; Mike Meadows on percussion; Jeff Vogelgesang on mandolin; Sandy Gray on electric guitar; John Pointer on cello; and Randall Pharr on bass.

Track List:

All songs written by Danny Schmidt.

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