A review of the Danny Schmidt CD
"instead the forest rose to sing"


"instead the forest rose to sing"
by Danny Schmidt

Copyright 2009
Red House Records
www.dannyschmidt.com
www.redhouserecords.com
blake@dannyschmidt.com

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/09
"Kevin and Maxine's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"

http://www.kevindmccarthy.com/music/index.html
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Danny Schmidt is not of the supernatural. Not that we've actually authenticated his birth cerificate and, maybe more importantly, he has never made such a claim but his work produces a leavening reaction in listeners, hence our proclamation. The late Townes Van Zandt sang "to live is to fly, low and high..." and Schmidt's artistry thankfully transports his listeners to those higher elevations, far from any depths or the mundane. Short of earthly deification, such is the highest tribute that can be awarded to those in the creative arts.

Schmidt's latest release, "Instead the Forest Rose to Sing," continues his enchanting prowess, a blend of the intriguing and the challenging. He is not a lyrical A to B to C composer -- with him, depth prevails and metaphor reigns supreme. Inside Schmidt's work, change is the most often common denominator but it's not necessarily of the evolutionary sort or even of the transformative type when he weaves his tales around the personal and the cultural, about the individual and community.

Timing may or not not be everything but "Southland Street" personifies metaphor oh so real in today's times. Faux capitalism, so-called fair trade and free trade, NAFTA, et al are presented though never specifically mentioned as the kindling, firewood and accelerant that has torched many an economy. The song begins with the burgeoning of the American auto industry in Detroit, continues forward (or backwards) and eventually concludes:
"...Til who came crashing throught he door
It was dancin' dervishes galore
It was the Indians and the banking whores
Saying: 'Come on to the East...'"
Possibly a companion piece but more individual and intimate, "Grandpa Built Bridges" details how the significance of real working life has been waylaid, replaced by the unsubstantial glitz and flash of the conjurers who make nothing -- those in the business of creating wealth for themselves and their brethren via re-written laws and the quashing of regulation and with 'enough' vanquished from their vocabularies.

Warped priorities offers the source material for the fairytale-like "The Serpentine Cycle of Money" as Schmidt depicts the bastardization so common in the grasp for greater monies. The hopeful nature of the concluding verse goes:
"...The school rooms glow like palace halls
And parks like terraced garden grounds
And neighbors covet only calls
and all the Earth is holy ground."
"Better Off Broke" obviously appears tilted towards the financial but is actually more about the integrity and purpose of artistry. The killer verse:
"...Oh child, the things I could tell you
The things I could tell you, but you already know
Keep drawin' them dreams in the dirt with your finger
Cause singin's about bringin' that mud some soul..."
Detailing the life of the artist and the traveling musician but personifying anyone and everyone, "Swing Me Down" offers a take on the boundaries, if any, surrounding love and loving. Schmidt sings:
"...Cause it's the holler of the heart that leads to the making of the mind
It's not that I don't love you, I'm in love with your whole kind..."
There's plenty more of substance offered here, the rest best left for you to discover. The affection for artistry is and always will be idiosyncratic but here's a challenge: who is a better songwriter nowadays than Danny Schmidt?

Track List:

All songs written by Danny Schmidt.


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