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
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.
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