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
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.