On a recent Saturday morning, one of the more eclectic local radio shows played a song that caught my attention. It was "Cliff Song," my introduction to Danny Schmidt, and it left me wanting to hear more. Before long, I had purchased his most-recent release, Little Grey Sheep, and was giving it prominent playtime.
In 11 songs, plus the requisite bonus track, Schmidt makes a case for his place alongside singer-songwriters such as Townes Van Zandt, Todd Snider, Greg Brown, Robert Earl Keen, and even Leonard Cohen.
Schmidt is an Austin native with an evident gift for both words and strumming the guitar. His voice has a bit of a twang, but that just makes the harmony vocals stand out more. Put together, the package he presents immediately draws in the listener.
He shares his philosophy on life in "Company of Friends." It starts with the lines, "When I die, let them judge me by my company of friends / Let them know me as the footprints that I left upon the sand." Schmidt concludes with, "I believe in living smitten / I believe all hearts will mend / I believe our book is written / By our company of friends."
Little Grey Sheep is Schmidt's fifth album. It's left me smitten and looking forward to numbers six, seven and beyond.