Danny Schmidt is a brilliant and beguiling song poet, whose music combines intelligent and beautiful lyrics with dazzling guitar technique. It is simple and gorgeous music, elegantly sung.
Named to the Chicago Tribune’s list of the 50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt has amassed a cult following for his poetic, poignant lyrics. With a craftsmanship and emotional depth drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt, and with fantastical narratives reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salman Rushdie, Schmidt is considered a preeminent writer. Sing Out Magazine proclaimed that: “Schmidt is a force of nature: a blue moon, a hundred-year flood, an avalanche of a singer-songwriter. His songs are a flood of poetry, mythology, folk wisdom, and surprise. He is perhaps the best new songwriter we’ve heard in the last 15 years.”
Performing solo most often, armed with just his voice, his acoustic guitar, and his acute insight and commentary, Schmidt’s an authentic timeless troubadour, one man sharing his truth in the form of songs, in unadorned and intimate fashion. The understated effect can be powerful. As songwriter Jeffrey Foucault put it: “Everything about the man is gentle, except for his capacity for insight, which is crushing.”
After garnering unanimous critical praise for his self-released Parables & Primes album in 2005, Schmidt’s follow up release, Little Grey Sheep in 2007 began a streak of albums that topped the FolkDJ Radio Charts internationally. After being crowned with a prestigious Kerrville New Folk award in 2007, Schmidt gained the notice of venerable Americana roots label, Red House Records. They began releasing his albums alongside such notable artists as Greg Brown, Eliza Gilkyson, and John Gorka, thus exposing his music to a broader audience.
Schmidt released three albums on Red House Records, including the critically acclaimed debut Instead The Forest Rose To Sing in 2009, the spare and intimate Man Of Many Moons in 2011, and culminating with the amorous duo album For Keeps with his partner, Carrie Elkin, in 2014. Schmidt returned to self-releasing his own music in 2016 with the album Owls, a mystical collection of ethereal allegories. Standard Deviation in 2019 is Schmidt’s ninth solo record and tenth album total.
Schmidt’s relationship with the hit podcast Welcome To Night Vale began when his song This Too Shall Pass was used in one of their first episodes, and immediately struck a chord with the podcast’s young and hyper-intelligent audience. The relationship has grown since then, as Schmidt has subsequently toured with the podcast for many of their live shows as the special musical guest, and has premiered some his newest creations on the show.
Family life for Schmidt has begun to interweave with his musical life. His wife Carrie Elkin is herself an acclaimed singer/songwriter, and the two often tour together, sharing songs back and forth, and singing harmonies on each other’s work. In 2016 they celebrated the birth of their daughter, Maizy, who is often a fixture at their duo shows.