Danny Schmidt
Gig Seeker Pro

Danny Schmidt

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1999 | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1999
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review of Little Grey Sheep"

There’s a quality—an easygoing, lyrical storytelling manner that eschews stridency or pretension—that all folksingers strive for and few attain. But DANNY SCHMIDT has it in abundance: With seductive simplicity, his music demands your attention.

Schmidt is a native Austinite who honed his craft amid the music scene in Charlottesville, Virginia, yet despite heaps of notable critical praise and a 2007 New Folk Award from the Kerrville Folk Festival, he remains a bit below the radar. His fifth album, LITTLE GREY SHEEP (Waterbug), might manage to alter his coordinates: This is a sparse yet mature and immensely enjoyable piece of work. Songs like “California’s on Fire” and “Adios to Tejasito” possess a John Prine–like aw-shucks appeal—even if their tone is darker—and as the mood changes from song to song, the musicality of Sheep unifies the material.

Some folk purists will likely wish the songs plumbed deeper, but it’s precisely his lack of overreaching that keeps Schmidt from sounding a false note. - Texas Monthly Magazine

"Parables & Primes - 5/5 Stars"

Belated UK and European release for 2005 album of beautiful modern fables from Texas singer/songwriter.

There are some albums that jump right out of the speakers at you and grab you by the throat. There are others that start gently, impinging themselves on your consciousness, and with repeated listening grow stronger and stronger. Parables & Primes is most definitely the latter, and decidedly none the worse for it. Originally released in August of 2005 in the US, this is Danny's fourth album and is exactly whe the title implies -- a wonderful set of parables and fables all placed in a beautiful setting. This is sensitive songwriting at its finest.

The words, thankfully supplied with the CD, read well as poetry, but there is more to them than merely the meter. As with most parables, the songs tell stories which have a far deeper meaning than merely the surface context. In some songs, like This Too Shall Pass the perspective is reasonably clear with the words giving a measure of hope to the human condition, whereas with the wonderful, jazzy Happy All The Time the significance of allegory is more complex. As Schmidt himself admits: 'I've honestly never been able to figure out where this song is ironic or not', as this song can be taken on so many levels.

In his use of parable and allegory, there are inevitable comparisons with Cohen and Dylan, but these are songs of such quality and beauty that they more than hold their own in this exalted company.

Riddles & Lies is a lovely, melancholy song based round just an acoustic guitar and mandolin pondering on the propensity of most people to be unable to be honest with one another.

There is also a pastoral theme, with many of the songs using the imagery of trees, deserts, rivers, etc. A fallen elm starts off the development of the story in Stained Glass which is a wonderful long epic story about how a newly, badly, repaired stained glass window in a church affects the congregation in a passionate, subtle, and ultimately holy way.

The most overtly political song is A Circus of Clowns, where the actions of the politicians are likened to that of a set of circus clowns. If this analogy seems clumsy, then this is decidedly not so. This is an intensely intelligent song which proves that at least some Americans can definitely 'do' irony.

Although a decidedly literate album, Danny has a winning, soft voice, and the music backing the production is first class.

This is my first introduction to Danny Schmidt, but with his new album Little Grey Sheep now finished, I for one, will definitely be looking for more.

- Maverick Magazine

"Parables & Primes - 5/5 Stars"

Texan-born songwriter Danny had previously only entered my consciousness through a track on the Waterbug Anthology #8: I made a mental note to look out for his recordings but heard nothing more till this one arrived through my mailbox just a short time ago.

On this evidence, Danny is a really captivating talent, with an intensely literate take on things that at times recalls that of Josh Ritter but, if anything, encompasses a wider stylistic range and an arguably even greater sense of poeticism.

His songs are characterised by an easy kind of poetry that seems to just spill off the end of his pen fully formed, and delivered in a winning kind of unassuming but entirely confident soft drawl that beguiles the ear with little apparent effort and draws the intellect in too with its spun word-patterns.

Most of the time on this disc, there's just Danny and his guitar, with tasteful little embellishments from steel guitar (Lloyd Maines, no less), accordion or organ (Stefano Intelisano) and gentle stringed instruments like violin and cello, while trumpet, mandolin, harmonica, percussion, bass and vocal harmonies also appear in the exhaustive cast-list. Yet, there's never any excess baggage or clouding of textures and full concentration always rests squarely on Danny's lyrics.

Every song on this disc immediately impresses, but the crowning glory has to be the epic yet claustrophobic Stained Glass, which recalls Leonard Cohen in its dazzling use of often primal religious imagery to tell its story. There's a distinctly weary, resigned-yet-defiant demeanour to Danny's writing too: This Too Shall Pass was written in the midst of a bout of cancer, while Ghosts is pure meditative gallows-Gothic.

Elsewhere among this disc's eleven amazing creations, Neil Young is a double-edged love-song that partly pays tribute to one of Danny's evident inspirations, the freewheelingly jazzy mode of Happy All The Time is reflected in its mood of twisted irony and Beggars And Mules is a sly take on the country-roots barroom lament, written expressly for Danny's muso friends.

The "parables" include the truly bizarre political allegory of A Circus Of Clowns and the pseudo-fairytale character sketch of Dark-Eyed Prince. Danny has a hell of an imagination, but one which doesn't exclude his listeners, whom he holds in rapt attention throughout his storytelling and ruminations.

I was so impressed with this album I just had to investigate further, and it turns out that Parables & Primes is Danny's fourth CD, recorded back in 2005 and only just now gaining a UK release; apparently there's a further new album on the way as we speak (from Waterbug I believe), which I'm looking forward to immensely.

Parables & Primes is an absolutely outstanding singer-songwriter album by any standards, truly one of the finest and most individual I've heard this year, and I'm glad to report that Danny's going to be touring the UK briefly next month. - Netrhythms UK

"About Schmidt - Parables & Primes"

Schmidt has the poetry and flow of Dylan without the drawback of having his voice. These songs are crammed full of words, each one placed with care, his voice moving between them with ease as though the transition between syllables has been worn smooth by practice. The density of the poetry means that there isn't a need for any complex musical embellishment; the core is acoustic guitar shaded with trumpet, mandolin, accordion and some steel guitar. The songs breathe because they have the room to; it only takes a few bars of harmony to change the texture of a song. He combines the starkness of early Iron & Wine with the torrent that is Josh Ritter. His voice seems like there aren't any words that could confound it; everything that there is to say can be said and turned into song.

The guitar seems part of the thought process, the lines on which the words are written, the breath between them, the punctuation, italics and occasional underlining or bold. With a full electric band sound the vocals don't change, the organ and guitars offering more than typographical assistance, they are illustrations, an illuminated manuscript. The songs synthesise various generic and poetic conventions into something that is recognizably his own, equally at home with small domestic details as on the larger canvas of human nature. These are songs that you have to give time to, pay attention to - otherwise they will escape you: listen close and you will be rewarded. - Americana UK

"Texas Platters"

by Jim Caligiuri

In today's underground folk world, Danny Schmidt is spoken of in reverent tones, drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen, with words like "incredible" and "beautiful" used to describe his work. Little Grey Sheep, his fifth collection of songs, is likely to draw more people to the Austin singer-songwriter, simply because it's his most straightforward and accessible work to date.

Recorded in Charlottesville, Va., with fellow troubadour Paul Curreri as producer, the album's intimate settings allow Schmidt's poetry to breathe naturally and without pretension. Texans will be drawn to "Adios to Tejasito," a love song of sorts to Austin, while "Leaves Are Burning" is a dark, swirling blues with echoes of Nick Drake. With Little Grey Sheep, Schmidt exposes a different side of his muse, and the results are both attractive and intense. - Austin Chronicle

"Review of Little Grey Sheep"

by Matt Watroba

I first discovered Danny Schmidt in these pages when his song, “Esmee By The River” was printed in Sing Out! and featured on the accompanying CD. I was struck immediately by the sparse, yet powerful arrangement, the laid-back, yet energetic performance, and, most of all, by the sheer poetry of the lyrics. I wanted more. The song came from Danny’s 2005 release, Parables And Primes, which I immediately put into heavy rotation on the CD player in my car.

Now in heavy rotation is his latest, Little Grey Sheep. The new one proves that Danny Schmidt’s highly literate approach to songwriting, and his ability to evoke a wide array of emotion with just the right amount of sound, was no accident. If you ask him, he might tell you that these songs were odds and ends—songs that have been around awhile, but didn’t really fit in with past projects. You may find that hard to believe, because this collection of songs is not only coherent, it is an original and refreshing celebration of love, complicated relationships, true friendship, and a sense of place.

Little Grey Sheep begins with the haunting, “Leaves Are Burning.” I never asked Danny who his influences were, but this much I know—this song, as well as many of the others, would make Townes Van Zandt and Dave Carter smile.

Highlights from Little Grey Sheep include a quirky and original homage to his hometown of Austin Texas called “Adios To Tejasito,” another homage, but this time to friendship in the form of a birthday present song with, “Tales Of Sweet Odysseus,” the insightful “Emigrant, Mt,” and the celebration of love and marriage between two women in “Song For Judy And Bridget.”

For me though, the pinnacle of Little Grey Sheep is the song “Company of Friends,” which became an instant classic on my Detroit radio show, and continues to make me feel better every time I hear it. Little Grey Sheep proves that Danny Schmidt is here to stay and deserves the kind of recognition that leads to performances at festivals and clubs all across the country. - Sing Out! Magazine

"Review of Parables & Primes"

Sing Out! magazine's review of Parables & Primes - Winter 2005
by Rich Warren

Danny Schmidt reminds me of why I gravitate towards the singer-songwriter art form. With the gravitational pull of the sun, he is, perhaps the best new songwriter I’ve heard in the last 15 years. Schmidt’s iconoclastic style sets him apart from the crowd, yet if you lean toward the acoustic folk side of singer-songwriters you’ll find him quite accessible.

This self-produced CD lists 15 accompanists, yet the uncluttered production never overwhelms or overshadows the songs. It builds a vortex that swirls you into the songs. Schmidt’s voice is frail yet assertive, self-effacing yet self-confident and easily carries his ideas.

“Stained Glass” is the single most dazzling, dramatic, dynamic and poetic song I’ve heard since Phil Och’s “Crucifixion.” This 6:36 minute long parable tells of the destruction and reconstruction of a church window. However stunning the imagery, it is a song that defies description, it must be heard.

The other 10 remarkable songs on this CD do not pale in comparison, but after looking directly into the sun, you must allow your mind and psyche to readjust before appreciating the other songs.

“This Too Shall Pass” is a defiant song for a friend with cancer. Setting an overall tone of sardonic, dark commentary often illuminated with irony, he views the human condition from a variety of angles. “A Circus of Clowns” cleverly, boldly skewers the current Administration.

Schmidt crafts engrossing melodies to carry his novel approach to words. While you may not be able to remember all the lyrics because of the complexity, you may have trouble escaping the tunes. He even weaves in some melodic quotations from traditional folk songs.

I have tried to avoid hyperbole in discussing Parables & Primes. I’ll simply say you must buy this CD. It is the pinnacle of contemporary songwriting. - Sing Out! Magazine


Live at the Prism Coffeehouse (1999)
Enjoying the Fall (2001)
Make Right the Time (2003)
Parables & Primes (2005)
Little Grey Sheep (2007)
Instead The Forest Rose To Sing (2009)
Man Of Many Moons (2011)



2007 Kerrville New Folk Winner
2008 Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
Signed to Red House Records in 2009.
#1 Album on the FolkDJ Chart with Little Grey Sheep - Feb 2008
#1 Album on the FolkDJ again with Instead The Forest Rose To Sing - March, April, and May 2009
#1 Most played artist again on FolkDJ for Man Of Many Moons in 2011. That's three albums in a row.

Here's what some folks have been saying about Danny's music. . .

"He is, perhaps the best new songwriter I’ve heard in the last 15 years."
- Rich Warren, Sing Out! Magazine

"In his use of parable and allegory, there are inevitable comparisons with Cohen and Dylan, but these are songs of such quality and beauty that they more than hold their own in this exalted company."
5 stars out of 5, Maverick Magazine UK

"With seductive simplicity, his music demands your attention."
- Jeff McCord, Texas Monthly

"In today's underground folk world, Danny Schmidt is spoken of in reverent tones, drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen, with a poetry that breathes naturally and without pretension, with results that are both attractive and intense."
- Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle

“Texas' best-kept secret. Danny Schmidt has caught a fast rising star, and is shining brightly with his amazing sound. This guy is headed for the big arena stage. Kerrville New Folk winner in ‘07. Poet. Singer-songwriter. Guitar phenom. Hypnotic wordsmith.”
- Tom Kemper, East Dallas Concert Series

"Danny Schmidt is a young man with blazing lyrical skills and a deserved cult following."
- Andrew Hawkey, Cambria Arts UK

“This songsmith has been churning out brilliant, poetic songs on the human condition coupled with dazzling technique on his guitar strings for almost a decade.”
- Jay Trachtenberg, KUT Radio in Austin

"Danny Schmidt's done it again. One of the country's best singer-songwriters has released yet another masterpiece."
- Les Reynolds, Indie-Music.com

"He might very well be the medieval love child of Ani Difranco and Tom Waits."
- WORT radio in Madison, WI

"With beautifully crafted, lonesome pines music and complex beguiling words, he would've fitted neatly on the bill at any '60s coffee house alongside Townes Van Zandt or Leonard Cohen."
- Andy Fyfe, Q Magazine UK

"The songs are fascinating and intriguing, even mysterious. The singing is warm and unassuming, letting the stories lead him. The melodies are captivating. And the writer is gifted. Go find Danny Schmidt and listen."
- Marilyn Rea Beyer, WUMB Radio in Boston

"I've not felt a performance with this much intensity since I saw Neil Young solo years ago, nor have I heard songwriting with this much subtlety of craftsmanship since Leonard Cohen. I was completely floored."
- Henri Simmons, the Filter

"Everything about the man is gentle, except his capacity for insight, which is crushing.”
- Songwriter Jeffrey Foucault

Band Members