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Danny Schmidt
Man of Many Moons

Review By Steven Stone

 

  On his second Red House Records release Danny Schmidt displays the same level of wit and lyricism that made his last release such an artistic success. 2009's The Forest Rose to Sing garnered No Depression Magazine's "Best of 2009" and #2 "Most played folk album." It also elicited comments such as "one of the greatest singer-songwriters of his generation" from Heaven Magazine. According to my own review, I found his previous album "graphic yet with a poetic quality."

Undoubtedly Schmidt writes great songs. Man of Many Moons includes ten new original compositions as well as one cover "Bucket of Rain" by Bob Dylan. Schmidt's version of this rarely covered classic features his deftly fingerpicked guitar as well as a neat twist to the arrangement that luxuriates in the song's euphonic qualities. Schmidt also slows down the song's pace a smidgen, which gives it a more wistful character. Schmidt's own songs share a certain kinship with the Dylan tune, a quirky melancholy that couples humor with sadness in a unique way.

On Man of Many Moons Schmidt retains much of the same alchemic musical formula as on The Forest Rose to Sing. The accompanying arrangements are spare with no percussion whatsoever. Schmidt plays acoustic guitar while Will Sexton adds bass and additional guitar parts and Keith Gary plays piano. Raina Rose and Carrie Elkin contribute backing harmony vocals while singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville adds an occasional harmonica part. Using such a small group adds to the album's intimate character and emotional impact.

Schmidt doesn't have what you what call a conventionally beautiful voice. Uncharitable listeners might even call it whiney, but his delivery has a casual directness that penetrates to the emotional center of a song. As far as singer-songwriters go, they don't get much better than Danny Schmidt.

 

 

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