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I'm an Irish guy living in France. I like music, books, creative writing, art, history, vegetarianism, people, and chocolate.

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Monday 16 March 2009

Parables & Primes

Parables & Primes is a folk album by Texan singer-songwriter Danny Schmidt.

Danny Schmidt sounds a bit like early Josh Ritter. Parables & Primes has the same bare and simple quality to it as Hello Starling. But its themes of isolation and alienation are more reminiscent of Jim White's material. Actually some of the tracks have the same kind of southern notes as White (the slide guitar on the song Neil Young for example), but thankfully stay well clear of the Nashville sound.

Schmidt, like all the great folk artists, uses and subverts biblical imagery, so there's that Dylan-Cohen feel to a lot of his songs. The album is musically quite diverse : a couple of the tracks sound like gospel songs (Esmee by the River and Beggars and Mules), Happy All the Time is a John Martyn-style folk-jazz fusion, and Stained Glass seems to have come right out of Songs of Leonard Cohen. Along with Dark-Eyed Prince it's, in my opinion, one of the album's most memorable tracks.

In Dark-Eyed Prince the artist uses a fairy tale-type narrative to talk about closing oneself up emotionally and not being able to accept what life or love has to offer.
Stained Glass tells the story of a congregation finding its church's stained glass window shattered on Good Friday, and finding out that the man who had made it has passed away years ago. The man's old father then decides to fix it for them and toils day and night, leaving his blood and tears in the glass, and finally bringing it to the church on Easter Sunday. Schmidt then goes on to sing about hope and brokenness.

The last few tracks of the album are less noteworthy, but all in all, Parables & Primes, without being revolutionary, is a good folk album. One warning though : like Leonard Cohen's material, it's probably not something you should listen to if you're already feeling down.

You can listen to the whole album for free on Deezer.

1 comment:

Jonny said...

Scary artwork!

Emerald Champagne

rambling on...

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