Instead the Forest Rose to Sing

Instead the Forest Rose to Sing

by Danny Schmidt Danny Schmidt


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Danny Schmidt alludes to his profession in the opening and closing parts of his Red House Records label debut, Instead the Forest Rose to Sing, beginning with "Better Off Broke," which sounds like it might have been written around one of the campfires at the Kerrville Folk Festival where he won the New Folk Award in 2007. "Swing Me Down," which follows, is a travelog that mentions lots of state names, as if the songwriter were ticking them off as he journeyed through. The album's final song, "The Night's Just Beginning to Shine," is a closing time theme, appropriate for a final encore in a club, to be followed only by the reminder, "Be sure to tip your waitress." In this sense, the album comes off as a deliberately constructed set, and that impression is reinforced by Schmidt's reliance on a variety of familiar folk styles, from the folk-blues of "Better Off Broke" to the jazz-blues of "Two Timing Bank Robber's Lament" (think "St. James Infirmary") and the folk-rock of "Serpentine Cycle of Money." Certainly, this is a concept album, and the concept is the timely one (in the winter after the economic meltdown of 2008) of money. Predictably, Schmidt doesn't think much of wealth, if a title like "Better Off Broke" didn't signal that right off the bat. He complains that workingmen are robbed of their dignity after their working life is over ("Grampa Built Bridges"); decries the decline of the auto industry ("Southland Street"); botches a big heist ( "Two Timing Bank Robber's Lament"); and isn't even happy when he finds a billion dollars under a rock ("The Serpentine Cycle of Money"). Better off broke, indeed. All of this is expressed in his alternately wheezy and clear tenor, as he manages to get his tongue around what are sometimes big mouthfuls of words. Schmidt is wordy and witty, and he enjoys showing off his verbal facility, sometimes for its own sake, in these songs. But folk music tends to be a lyricist's genre, and there's plenty of excellent music to support the verbosity.

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Product Details

Release Date: 03/10/2009
Label: Red House
UPC: 0033651021629
catalogNumber: 216
Rank: 155523


  1. Better off Broke
  2. Swing Me Down
  3. Grampa Built Bridges
  4. Southland Street
  5. Two Timing Bank Robber's Lament
  6. Firestorm
  7. Serpentine Cycle of Money
  8. Oh Bally Ho
  9. Accidentally Daisies
  10. The Night's Beginning to Shine

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Danny Schmidt   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Mark Hallman   Organ,Bass,Mandolin,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Vocal Harmony
Mark Anthony Williams   Bass
Joia Wood   Vocal Harmony
Brian Standefer   Cello
Damien Llanes   Drums
Eleanor Whitmore   Violin
Oliver Steck   Accordion
Elana James   Violin
George Carver   Harmonica
Carrie Elkin   Tambourine,Vocal Harmony
Kevin Flatt   Trumpet
Joia Wood   Vocals
George Carver   Harmonica
Carrie Elkin   Vocals

Technical Credits

Mark Hallman   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Danny Schmidt   Producer,Audio Production
Jacek Yerka   Cover Art
Chris Masterson   Engineer

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