Standard Deviation – Danny Schmidt (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

Fans of Americana music may already be aware of Danny Schmidt, this is his tenth studio album, so it’s safe to say that if you enjoy this kind of music then his name will have popped up somewhere down the line. Known for his song writing skills and expressive, poetic lyrics, Schmidt was listed as one of the fifty most significant songwriters of the last fifty years by the Chicago Tribune so it’s clear he has fans in high places.

But, if like me, you’re new to the Texan’s work, you’ll be faced with a decision early on regarding his voice. His voice isn’t a whiskey-aged, smoke-drenched gruff that so often accompanies this style of music, but a soft, quivering voice that will either help you engage with his poignant lyrics or turn you off.

I’ve had this album playing for a few days and slowly things reveal themselves, subtle changes in the mood of the songs, the intimate feelings that comes from a song writer delivering an emotion so personal, like that on opening track ‘Just Wait’ til They See You’, which is written to his young daughter Maizy, that you can’t help but be drawn into the world that Schmidt creates.

The songs are good, the musicianship, although quite sparse in places, never feels as if it lacks anything and as a result feels totally correct. This is step up in terms of quality from a lot of what is arriving on my pile of albums to listen to, so the bottom line really is to grab a copy, find an armchair and judge for yourself.

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