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Instead the Forest Rose to Sing

Danny Schmidt

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Album Review

Danny Schmidt alludes to his profession in the opening and closing parts of his Red House Records label debut, Instead the Forest Rose to Sing, beginning with "Better Off Broke," which sounds like it might have been written around one of the campfires at the Kerrville Folk Festival where he won the New Folk Award in 2007. "Swing Me Down," which follows, is a travelog that mentions lots of state names, as if the songwriter were ticking them off as he journeyed through. The album's final song, "The Night's Just Beginning to Shine," is a closing time theme, appropriate for a final encore in a club, to be followed only by the reminder, "Be sure to tip your waitress." In this sense, the album comes off as a deliberately constructed set, and that impression is reinforced by Schmidt's reliance on a variety of familiar folk styles, from the folk-blues of "Better Off Broke" to the jazz-blues of "Two Timing Bank Robber's Lament" (think "St. James Infirmary") and the folk-rock of "Serpentine Cycle of Money." Certainly, this is a concept album, and the concept is the timely one (in the winter after the economic meltdown of 2008) of money. Predictably, Schmidt doesn't think much of wealth, if a title like "Better Off Broke" didn't signal that right off the bat. He complains that workingmen are robbed of their dignity after their working life is over ("Grampa Built Bridges"); decries the decline of the auto industry ("Southland Street"); botches a big heist ( "Two Timing Bank Robber's Lament"); and isn't even happy when he finds a billion dollars under a rock ("The Serpentine Cycle of Money"). Better off broke, indeed. All of this is expressed in his alternately wheezy and clear tenor, as he manages to get his tongue around what are sometimes big mouthfuls of words. Schmidt is wordy and witty, and he enjoys showing off his verbal facility, sometimes for its own sake, in these songs. But folk music tends to be a lyricist's genre, and there's plenty of excellent music to support the verbosity.

Customer Reviews

Instead the Forest Rose to Sing

Danny delivers again! The new record is one of my favorites (2nd only to Parables and Primes), and I recommend this album as a great place to start if you're unfamiliar with his music. As is common with his records, he provides a mix of insight, entertainment, and mystery into each track. I'll say that if you haven't had an opportunity to catch his live shows, you're in for a treat. The energy and presence he brings to the stage are incredible, and I've left each show with a new appreciation for his music. Instead the Forest Rose to Sing is outstanding - the mix of back-up instruments and vocal harmonies add a depth that really brings these songs to life as studio recordings. You'll find yourself humming a phrase from Southland Street or Better Off Broke, or wondering just what on earth the Bank Robber was thinking! Man, the imagery that these songs bring to mind are so vivid, so unique. I have loved listening to Danny's tunes, and this album especially. It's well worth every cent you'll spend!

Heart felt, heart sung.

There I was listening to Pandora when up came Danny's song "This too shall pass". I was floored. What an amazing talent. What a timely song. Upon going to his website I was beside myself to learn that Danny did house concerts. Before long there he was singing for a collection my friends in West-by-God Virginia. Awesome. Support his musical abilities, talent, artistic heart felt lyrics, and self played instrument prowness. Self written, self played. You won't grow tired of this amazing artist.

Instead the Forest Rose To Sing

It was tough waiting for Danny's latest masterpiece, but it was well worth it. After songs like "Drawing Board" and "Company of Friends" from LITTLE GRAY SHEEP, here is another beautifully written and performed CD. With a string of musical genius like "The Winds", "Stained Glass", "Make Right the Time", and "A Circus of Clowns", there is only one thing better than listening to Danny Schmidt's recordings... going to hear him live in concert. Treat yourself to this experience as soon as you can.

Biography

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt lived early in life in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri before moving to Austin, TX, and then Virginia. After a varied career that included working in a sawmill and living on a commune, he settled in Charlottesville. There, he was part of a musician's co-op called Acoustic Charlottesville and recorded his first album, Live at the Prism Coffeehouse. Two studio albums followed, but he became disillusioned with the music business and returned to Austin, where he intended...
Full Bio
Instead the Forest Rose to Sing, Danny Schmidt
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Customer Ratings