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Friday, May 2, 2008

There's Danny Schmidt And Then Then There's Everyone Else

Being an Austinite, I have the privilege of seeing Danny Schmidt (site, myspace) perform on a fairly regular basis. I know Paste had that reader poll last year about the best living songwriters. Generally, I tended to agree but there were some that just left me shaking my head. I would bet that 99% of the folks who voted on that poll have never heard a single note of any Danny Schmidt song. In a perfect world Danny would get the recognition he's due as an genius songwriter.

Danny's poet-perfect word choice, multi-layered narratives, gentle yet powerful melodies and superb guitar work all mesh perfectly to create art that jumps off the record or rushes up off the the stage and directly engages the heart and mind. I've not seen someone before combine all the tools of the singer/songwriter so perfectly. No one.

Steve Earle said "
Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." I feel that same way about Danny Schmidt. And I'll stand in the Paste Magazine editor's office and say it.

There's no changing that. Making comparisons to other songwriters, living or dead, is wholly unfair to those on both ends of the comparison. Danny is that good.

Knowing that to imitate the living Is mockery And to imitate the dead Is robbery There are those Who are beings complete unto themselves"
-Johnny Cash, From the Nasvhille Skyline liner notes

Check out a few of Danny's newer songs on this recording from the Cactus Cafe.

#10 Better Off Broke
#12 Southland Street
#15 Swing Me Down
#21 Serpentine Cycle of Money
#23 Company Of Friends

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