A Review Of The Danny Schmidt CD
"little grey sheep"

"little grey sheep"
by Danny Schmidt

Copyright 2007


This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/08
"Kevin and Maxine's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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He's an unsung sensation (pun intended). An overlooked gem. If their was a music god or goddess... If the music world was fair... All of these hackneyed phrases have long been residents in the province of trite-dom but damn, they still apply to Danny Schmidt. This singer-songwriter can create a compelling song and deliver it like very few but where is the fame or fortune, let alone basic airplay?

Maybe he needs a signature song next to his name. If so, we nominate either "Stained Glass" from his previous release "Parables & Primes" or "Company Of Friends" from this one. Either will catch the ear and engage the brain, leaving the listener asking who the #@%& is that and desiring more.

Just what is Schmidt's secret or keys to his creative artistry? That's an unanswerable one but we can detail why it works for this listener. His writing can be clever but never unctuous, there's often edge and attitude but understatedly played, he literally never travels directly from point a to point b, preferring the circuitous route while describing subject matter that has so often been sung, spoken and written about through the ages but he does it uniquely and with depth.

This release is his collection of leftovers -- songs that didn't 'fit' into the thematic outlines of his other releases. Most revolve around personal relationships but there are also songs of place here and quite the life anthem in the aforementioned "Company Of Friends."

As for that song, Schmidt provides 20 of his cherished beliefs, the overriding one being the song's title. He wishes his existence arbitered by the quality of his companions, believing that such is the most legitimate barometer. Call it a companion piece of sorts to Dylan's "Forever Young."

"Drawing Board" offers a prime example of the density of Schmidt's writings. Here's the opening verse featuring his insight about the vagaries of relationships:

"I've lived my life in two pursuits
To capture time and free the truth
I never asked for all your love
I only asked for you..."

"Go Ugly Early" is not the missing 11th Commandment. In attempting to describe the circumference of this song, it's easy to lead the reader towards misogyny or at the very least sexism as the driving force -- which is completely erroneous. Two of its verses are:

"...Then a father, full of wisdom
Said I learned when I was young
That a pretty face ain't worth the chase
Go ugly early, son..."


"...Cause in the question of the conquest
You might find it's just as true
That the girl that you chose early
She went ugly early, too..."

But it's the last two verses -- not to give anything away -- that solidify the true intent.

Austin is lauded as the sole Lone Star State oasis in "Adios To Tejasito" -- credit due to John Romano on harmonica -- while the entire state, but especially Yellowstone, is revered in "Emigrant, MT."

The exceptionally creative `"Tales Of Sweet Odysseus" twines Greek mythology and a birthday unlike ever before. Matty Metcalfe's accordion play feeds the engaging rhythm.

"Cliff Song" and "Around The Waist" detail unrequited and unvarnished love respectively.

This cannot be said too loudly or provocatively: Danny Schmidt is a profound talent. The kind that makes a new discoverer of his artistry wonder how it was possible not to have known of him before. His acolytes, including moi, have no answer to that riddle but are always happy to spread the faith.

Track List:

All songs written by Danny Schmidt.

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