Man of Many Moons
Among the best albums, there are some that reveal how extraordinary they are on first hearing and some that need time to grow on the listener. Danny Schmidt’s latest offering is a bit of both, packing a punch immediately, but then continuing to deliver an almost unbelievable number of layers below.
Man of Many Moons is primarily an album of self-discovery and self-revelation, infused with poetry and beautiful, spare guitar playing. I’ve mostly watched but sometimes spoken, Schmidt sings. Mostly quit but sometimes tried /To eat the earth and drink the ocean /And share the water from my eyes.
Schmidt is at his most immediately accessible in his story songs . This album’s offering is a two-song journey – the socially conscious “Guilty By Association Blues” serving as the background for “Almost Round the World”, which tells how a translation error of that song in a Dutch newspaper was amplified into a huge online game of Chinese whispers filled with overreactions, misconceptions and credulousness. In a week in which the internet has shows itself to be stronger even than the courts, but not always all that accurate, it’s not difficult to believe.
Some of Schmidt’s other songs take longer to make an impression, but maybe as a result the impression is all the greater. “Two Guitars” is one of the most expressive and touching love songs you are ever likely to hear, and it’s only likely to reveal itself to a listener concentrating on nothing else.
Schmidt has made good on his expressed desire to come up with a stripped-down album that is mostly just his clear and very unique voice and his acoustic guitar. Accompaniment, when it does occur, is from the best of sources – guitarist Will Sexton, Ray Bonneville on Harmonica and singer-songwriters Raina Rose and Schmidt’s partner Carrie Elkin on harmony vocals. With all the songs written by Schmidt except for a cover of Dylan’s “Buckets of Rain”, this is an album that will continue giving for a long time.
UK release date: May 30
Danny Schmidt is on tour in the UK in June and July. Click here for details.