Danny Schmidt

Little Grey Sheep (Waterbug Records)

Born and raised in Austin, country/folk singer-songwriter Danny Schmidt parlays an aggressive acoustic guitar style and a yearning, yowling vocal delivery into a unique charisma that's both evocative and oddly comforting. Little Grey Sheep, Schmidt's fifth effort, is a collection of orphaned songs, some deemed too askew to fit in with whatever album he was then working on. Together, these dozen cuts resonate because of their peculiarity, presenting Schmidt as a keen observer of life's inconsistencies.

"I never asked for all your love/I only asked for you," sings Schmidt on "Drawing Board," one of several striking ballads on the disc. Like Richard Thompson and Townes Van Zandt, Schmidt writes with a clarity that's never verbose or flashy, just simple words attempting to unearth simple truths. Switching from the Gaelic-influenced "Tales of Sweet Odysseus" to the ominous backwoods folk of "Leaves Are Burning," Schmidt finds hope in the unlikeliest of places.

Although his talent should secure him a wider audience, Schmidt seems to relish his position as an outsider. From the comical cover art to the stylistic hodgepodge of songs and delivery, Little Grey Sheep is exactly what the title suggests, a fascinating mutt of a record in search of a good home.

 
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