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 almost exclusively, armed with just his voice, his acoustic guitar, and his acute commentary, Schmidt’s an authentic timeless troubadour, one man sharing his truth in the form of songs, unadorned and intimate. 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 charted at #1 on the Folk Radio Charts internationally. And on the heels of being crowned with one of the prestigious Kerrville New Folk awards in 2007, Schmidt won the notice of venerable Americana roots label, Red House Records, who began releasing his albums in 2009, alongside such notable artists as Greg Brown, Eliza Gilkyson, and Jorma Kaukonen, 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 will be Schmidt’s ninth solo record.
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 audience. Schmidt has subsequently joined the podcast for many of their live shows as the special musical guest.
Family life for Schmidt interweaves 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 September of 2016 they celebrated the birth of their daughter, Maizy, who has become a fixture on the road with them, and has also found her way into many of the songs that Schmidt has been surfacing in recent days.