j. schnitt
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j. schnitt

Utica, New York, United States | SELF

Utica, New York, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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



"J. Schnitt"

A prolific multi-faceted rust-belt troubadour who holds your attention with his subtle, startling, and sometimes stark phrasing, alternately mixing straightforward honesty with abstract imagery and complex interpretations. J. Schnitt is an enigmatic live performer who gives it his all. His latest self-produced record "Make a Joyful Noise" is an 18-song epic tour through many kinds of mind-states and rings true all the way. - tramontane press release

"Songs tell the story for artist J. Schnitt"

Quiet and reserved, it might seem as if J. Schnitt has nothing to say. But slip in one of his CDs, catch a performance or sift through the pile of ink-stained notebooks filled with song lyrics lying in a tattered pile on his bedroom floor, and you'll find this singer-songwriter does have something to talk about.

"I, on average, write a song every two weeks," he said. "There's always something to say."

What Schnitt has to say seems to be evolving on his latest album, which is currently in progress; many of the songs offer a political message, ranging from anti-war to anti-corporation, backed by a more organic musicianship, Schnitt said.

"I tend to write storytelling songs in the (Bob) Dylan theme," said Schnitt, who also performs with The Reuben James. "This album is a lot more organic, a lot of accordion and banjo - at least so far. That might change."

The inspiration to record his thoughts or sounds can occur at a whim, and having a home studio supports the musician's creative urges.

"I'm pretty haphazard when it comes to recording," he said. "I try different things out. I usually go with whatever I put down at that moment. I don't like to over-think things too much. Usually, first instinct is best."

Musically, Schnitt's instincts are good. His folk-style compilations offer an engaging blend of poetic lyrics and smooth, romantic vocals. His unrefined style with the various instruments he's taught himself to play perfectly complements his modern, folk sound.

Behind the music, Schnitt's lyrics are incredibly thoughtful and engaging. A song that will appear on Schnitt's next album typifies the traditional murder ballad and immediately captures the listener with its ethereal, storytelling lyrics.

The fictional guy-meets-girl tale reveals the girl is not as into him as he is to her. Throughout the song he's feeling things that she's not, as these beautifully crafted lyrics convey:

"We stumbled through the streets until we hit the bedroom walls as our hair and teeth battled for the pillow that we shared, and she said 'I didn't feel a thing, it was only in your head,' she said. 'It was only in your head.'"

While writing songs seems to come naturally for Schnitt, promoting those songs has been more of a challenge, he said.

"My ability ends at writing and recording the music," he said.

"The more you play, the more you're seen," he said. "And artistically speaking and for my future in music, I need to be seen as much as possible." - the fusion

"must-see bands"

J. Schnitt

What you'll see: Reserved, quiet and mysterious singer-songwriter.

What you'll hear: Modern folk you didn’t know you liked paired with a skilled handling of various instruments and almost genius ability to use words to convey strong images.

What we think: Schnitt delivers folk-style compilations that make you forget you're listening to folk. He takes risks with instrumentation and arrangement that make his sound modern, but uses his strong storytelling to remain true to folk tradition. Luckily, his talent supports the risks and reinforces the tradition.
- Observer Dispatch

"Schnitt experiments with sound on new cd"

It might seem like just last year that J. Schnitt released a new CD, and that’s because it was.

Lucky for you, Schnitt is set to release his newest project, “Stay Younger,” during a performance at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, at the Tramontane Café, 1105 Lincoln Ave.

The new release is a bit of a departure from his previous works. Normally, Schnitt is known for progressive folk-style compilations and strong lyrical images.

You’ll still hear some of those elements, but prepare for “ominous bass lines, gritty electrics and experimental beats,” he said. “It’s like a “lit match hovering over a pool of gasoline,” he added. - the fusion

"Making a Joyful Noise"

Prolific is one word that describes local musician J. Schnitt. Preoccupied and humble work, too.
Schnitt has released “a minimum of one record a year” since 1999, according to his website, www.myspace.com/jasonschnitt. And each of those albums is its own animal, full-length or longer records written, performed and produced by Schnitt himself.
His latest, “Make A Joyful Noise” is a cheerier follow-up to the 12-track experimental and moody record, “Stay Younger,” which was released in November 2009. And that album closely followed his popular “Speaking Esperanto,” released in late 2008.
That’s a lot of music in a short time.
“He’s just a machine,” said longtime bandmate Ryan Miller. “Like some of those people that can memorize pi to several thousand decimal points, or draw the New York City skyline from memory. I don’t know how he does it.”
Writing music does seem to be something of an obsession for Schnitt, who says he’s generally working on 20 to 30 songs at any given time.
“I’m constantly in my own head, writing music,” he said. “It’s what I love to do.”
“Seventy percent of the time he is definitely distracted,” said his longtime girlfriend, Renee Mozetti. “He walks around in a daze, trips over things and sometimes can be bad at social interaction.”
Kind of like a mad scientist?
“I have no idea what I’m doing at any given moment,” Schnitt said of the writing process. “I’ll be writing, strumming, singing nonsense, and then I realize I have something and hope it works. Usually, I just grab the nearest instrument and come up with a part.”
The nearest instrument could be anything from a guitar or a banjo to a trumpet or an accordion. Schnitt once bought an accordion on his way out of Canada just to use up his Canadian cash. He didn’t play the accordion then, but he does now.
“You don’t have to know what you’re doing to make music,” Schnitt said. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes I come up with a title that could be cool then make a song around that. But usually I write the music first then the lyrics come later.”
“You just have to learn to hold on and trust where he’s going,” said Miller, who played with Schnitt in The Reuben James and now The Archipelagos. “It’s like speeding on a motorcycle blindfolded sometimes.”
Whatever the process for Schnitt, writing music doesn’t seem to take much effort.
“It doesn’t feel like I’m making music,” he said. “It’s like it comes from … wherever … and I just happen to capture it.”
“Make A Joyful Noise” combines Schnitt’s solid songwriting, poetic prowess and some “crazy ideas,” one of which was inviting a group of friends to his studio for a sing-along.
“‘Will You Sing Along’ I wrote in a half-hour,” he said. “I was singing by myself, and there was something missing. I wanted to hear a bunch of people singing it. …”
His friends can be heard on “Will You Sing Along” and “Make A Joyful Noise.” The sound is a perfect chorus of imperfect voices singing Schnitt’s words.
The sing-along theme fits the tone of the album perfectly. The first nine songs are about music, Schnitt writing the music and the impact of that music.
The next nine songs mark Schnitt’s other collaboration.
“The second half is just me and Molly (Domenico) singing good songs,” he said.
Domenico’s sweet vocals are the perfect complement to Schnitt’s often whiskey-soaked whispers and growls.
“I wrote a couple specifically for her to sing,” he said.
Schnitt’s influences are vast and varied. He’s a fan of Vic Chestnutt, Tom Waits, The Handsome Family and The National. He also grew up going to a contemporary Christian church that helped to incorporate music into that part of his life, as well.
“He has this fundamental understanding of so many styles of music, particularly American folk and roots music that most people never get, let alone create,” Miller said.
“Inspiration just comes from everywhere if you’re paying attention,” Schnitt said.
Copyright 2010 The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York. Some rights reserved
- Observer Dispatch

"lewis carroll's daughter"

""lewis carroll's daugther" is not only a perfect song, it's as good as the best of Bob Dylan. The subtlety and complexity of not only the lyrics, but also the music, the absolute intelligence behind this song must be noted" - palmer avery - seattle

"gorgeous songs..."

"These are gorgeous songs. Powerful, hypnotic with evocative lyrics and melodies that are direct and honest..." - taxi a & r


2010 - 'make a joyful noise"

2009 - "stay younger"

2008 - "speaking esperanto"

2007 - "from a third story window"

2007 - "2 a.m. radio"

2006 - "a room with two gravities"

2005 - "bang!"

2003 - "barnstormer"

2003 - "radio mystery theater"

2002 - "the quiver and the quake"



Part dustbowl troubadour, part poet, and part mad-scientist, j.schnitt has been a force on the northeast music scene for a while now. its been 11 records, 3 cars, 9 flat tires, 113 broken strings, one guitar, 6 girlfriends, thousands of miles, two tours of Ireland, one tour of eastern Europe, one broken elbow, two black eyes, opening for slots for Jackie Greene, Howie Day, Martin Sexton, and hundreds and hundreds of songs written and sung since he first took to the stage nearly ten years ago. Constantly and fearlessly pushing the boundaries of what a solo singer-songwriter should and could be. But at the heart of it all, is the songs. Songs that can be deeply personal, or irreverent, political, humorous, always passionate. Songs that stick to you, that sleep with you til' next winter, hit you in the gut and stick in your head, songs that remind us there is still honest and important music being made, and its only a matter of time before someone notices.

This is the part, where the clichés drop and the attempt at describing a sound falls flat on its face in a puddle of “unique blend of”’s and “combination of such and such”.
We will try to keep it to a minimum dear reader. The music of j. schnitt is an attempt (like any art form) at capturing the intangibles of human existence, and creating it in a tangible form, to be felt and touched and heard. Whether it be through the power and honesty in a simple well strummed G-chord on a beat up martin, or the infinite possibilities these things called notes and chords and words and sounds can create. A prolific and adventurous songwriter, his subject matter ranges from the deeply personal, to political, to humorous, to storytelling, to sensitive singer/songwriter, to whiskey rock, to the abstract. The sound is a seamless mix of Dylan-esque folk and indie rock & roll and sonic experimentation. He has also become renowned as a brilliant lyricist, wielding words like fingerpaint and metaphors like machine guns. But lets face it, these things never really quite describe a sound, or the blood and tears and passion and love that go into making it.
We all just hope it’ll be heard.

Band Members