Owls | Acoustic Demos

by Danny Schmidt

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These tracks are the acoustic home recordings of the songs that ultimately ended up comprising the 2015 studio release, Owls.

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released February 18, 2015

Danny Schmidt - guitar and vocals
Carrie Elkin - harmony vocals

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Danny Schmidt Austin, Texas

Named to the Chicago Tribune's "50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years," Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, with lyrical depth drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt. ... more

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Track Name: Paper Cranes
Remember the days when our feet led the way
When a kiss was the cost of our slowness
And the circles we'd run were like laces undone
To be young and get caught once again

Remember the time long before the design
When the ink was as wet as the ocean
And we'd dance in the tide til the ink would subside
And our feet would print poems on sand

Remember the years when the days disappeared
Like the pages torn free from the ledger
Though the fury of hands met the day's chief demands
It was story so full, now it’s empty

When was the line that we crossed and we signed
When we promised ourselves we could make it
Now we lie in the yard and plant seeds in our scars
And await the next rain that might wake us

Now remember the years when the days disappeared
Like the pages torn free from the ledger
And off they would fly, paper cranes in the sky
Til the moon was obscured by our treasures
Now the moon is obscured by our treasures
Track Name: Soon The Earth Shall Swallow
If they fill the dirt with water make them drink
If they fill the dirt with water make them drink
A tar pit like a heart exposed, an empty chest of liquid gold
The slurry of a long and broken nose

If they're poaching in the ocean drag them down
If they're poaching in the ocean drag them down
Cause everything a net can fill is fair to catch and free to kill
They can until they drown and so they will

Holy roller, space and time
Keep my children under
Watchful sight and mindful eyes
As they've been known to wander

Holy roller, time and space
A garden bench to borrow
Rest your head and hide your face
For soon the earth shall swallow

If the seeds are stamped by lawyers hide your corn
If the seeds are stamped by lawyers hide your corn
They'll send the scarecrows out to reap a harvest that The Man can keep
And keep the chaff as hungry as they need

If they're banging on their cages hose them down
If they're banging on their cages hose them down
When times are tough the bars get greased, and all that shines shall beg release
So let them beg but don't let them out for free

Refrain

If they take away your children don't be sad
If they take away your children don't be sad
Cause if all the fruit and all the seeds and all the fish in all the seas
Are gone then what's to feed a child's dreams
Track Name: Cries Of Shadows
In the sunrise of my life when the sun was at my back
And my shadow stretched before me like a playmate in the grass
I’d chase her, for to catch her, we might merge upon the day
That the sun would shine upon us all the wisdom of the aged

In the noontime of my life when the sun was overhead
I’d lie upon my shadow like drunk lovers in strange beds
And I’d wish to slink away, but she’d follow underfoot
So I’d hide beneath the shade trees til she’d melt into the roots

In the afternoon of life the sun would blind me from the front
And my shadow’d sneak behind me like a bloodhound on the hunt
And where I used to chase my shadow, now my shadow she’d chase me
And I’d flee forever forwards while she'd bite me at my feet

In the sunset of my life I’d sit and count the golden rays
And my shadow’d sit beside me, but she was gentle, thin, and grey
And we’d laugh at how we chased each other back and forth all day
All the while holding hands, in love and in dismay

And I’ve always dreamed of nighttime and always wondered what’s the means
That clicks the gears of time each day, and what fills the time between
When you’ve made your bed of clay and when the sun’s beneath the floor
What brings around a newborn day and the cries of shadows born?
Track Name: Girl With Lantern Eyes
Once upon a sinkhole, a prince who'd lost his people
Slipped out through Daddy's keyhole late one night
With no land left to fight for, nor love quite fit to bite for
The crown felt far too tight to slip from sight

But when the stars came calling, so free and free for falling
Their sparkling arcs across the sky
Like fireflies on fixtures, like drops of devil's tinctures
He'd drink their liquor and go blind

He'd lay for days and wonder, and crawl through caves of slumber
While happily ever under, gone for days
But in his dreams a lover sprang forth from under covers
A crest of deafening colors, songs, and rays

With stripes and spotted feathers, a storm of sunny weather
She smiled as if forever high
But in her eyes were embers of memories long dismembered
Of sparks so clever tempers rise

So he made to understand her in all her grace and grandeur
While flames that only fan her, rise and fall
And though the fire burned them, he raked the coals and turned them
The steady breath of learning, rise and fall

Cause surely as tomorrow has yesterday to borrow
A light to follow through the caves
Through dark and ancient paintings, of children's rants and ravings
Her lantern eyes might light the way
Track Name: All The More To Wonder
The leaves up on the trees today are green green green
And the clouds behind the leaves right now are white as they can be
But the sky behind the clouds, it's as blue as cherry pie
And it's all the more to sit and wonder why

The kids out on the playground they just play play play
The mama of the kid that fell can kiss those tears away
And the dad don't say a word, he just counts his lucky vows
And it's all the more to sit and wonder how

The lovers on the benches they just love love love
And the old men on the promenade preside like silver doves
While the doves and dirty bums eat crumbs of hope and bread
And it's all the more to sit and wonder when

The runners by the waterside they run run run
And the rowers on the water top they skim the top like bugs
While the cattails on the shore they blow like Buddha's hair
And it's all the more to sit and wonder where

The pretty girls with tiny clothes they dare dare dare
The boys with pretty skateboard tricks pretend that they don't care
And the woman in the grass with the book and purple bruise
And it's all the more to sit and wonder who

The sun upon the sunset it just glows glows glows
The moon takes up its perch and says it's time to get on home
And I wish upon a star that it might fill our dreams with dust
And it's all the more to sit and wonder what
Track Name: Faith Will Always Rise
Wouldn't you believe a man
Who showed you how to rise and stand
And hold your own forsaken hand
And lead you through the years
I would, I would, I'd follow if I could
But faith has always flashed and disappeared

Wouldn't you believe the words
A lover's lips might share with yours
Forever and forever more
A love that's not at war
I would, I would, I'd promise if I could
But faith has never touched my heart for good

Wouldn't you believe in work
If every day from death to birth
You turned a wrench that fixed the earth
With sweat that clenched a thirst
I would, I would, I'd labor like I should
But faith has never filled that hole with dirt

But every time and every where
A safety net of silver hair
That every climber knows is there
And all who fall would swear
And I would, I would, I'd swear it if I could
But faith has never caught me unprepared

So wouldn't you believe in life
If every blessed guess was right
And every question answered twice
Like shadows filled with light
I would, I would, I'd wake because I could
As faithful as the sun just knows to rise
Track Name: Looks Like God
Looks like god just spilled a sunset on the sky
Looks like god just spilled a sunset on the sky
My my, oh my, I might give my hand a try
And try and try and try

Looks like god forgot to fill the desert floor
Looks like god forgot to fill the desert floor
Lord lord, oh lord, the faith to say no more
No more, no more, no more

Looks like god just tore the mountains at their seams
Looks like god just tore the mountains at their seams
So clean, so clean, the tree line from the streams
So clean, so clean, so clean

Looks like god just broke the moon in half again
Looks like god just broke the moon in half again
Man man, oh man, it's still twice again as grand
So grand, so grand, so grand

Like a rope on a stallion's neck
Hope in a poor man's chest
Everything that’s broken had to be

Or like paint on the northern lights
Restraint in a lover’s eyes
The perfect pitch of broken harmonies

Looks like god just spilled a sunset on the sky
Looks like god just spilled a sunset on the sky
My my, oh my, I might give my hand a try
And try and try and try
Track Name: Cry On The Flowers
Maria in the morning was a vision all in orange
And all the nasty boys would wipe their eyes with dirty minds
It'd been that way for years, a monster in the mirror
A beauty so composed the notes might cry
She cried and cried, now all the dirt’s revived
So cry on the flowers when you cry

Maria in the window, an outline and a symbol
A pedestal so simple only dogs and children see
But solitude can keep a perfect girl asleep
Unattached and sadly gone to seed
She cried and cried, now all the dirt’s revived
So cry on the flowers when you cry

Maria on the doorsteps, the last of many first steps
To face the open air again, to sigh upon the breeze
When her eyes broke through the clouds, a flood of rain poured out
A storm of bitter tears and sweet release
She cried and cried, now all the dirt’s revived
So cry on the flowers when you cry

Maria in the garden, the hangman and the pardon
Forgiven and forgotten for a moment of a day
Cause yesterday has served the time that it deserved
While the rest of life just sighs and walks away
She cried and cried, now all the dirt’s revived
So cry on the flowers when you cry

She cried til her face was shiny, cried til her dress was clean
She cried til the water rose above her knees
She cried til the garden drank, and cried til the soil sang
She cried until the flowers ate the weeds

Maria on the altar, a gift for all who offer
A penance and a pittance and a petal from their bed
Roses round her hips, and honeysuckle lips
And violets where the violence once was picked
She cried and cried, now all the dirt’s revived
So cry on the flowers when you cry
Track Name: Bad Year For Cane
The ground grew grey and dead in August
The bed lay barren, just crying for rain
It’s been a bad year for the sweet pea harvest
It’s been a bad year for the sugar cane
It’ll all grow back again
We’ve all been led by a promise that the heart can mend

He’d wake each day and pray for thunder
And carve like lightning down the rows
And throw his seeds at dreams and numbers
And drink himself like dirt that won’t
It’ll all grow back again
We’ve all been led by a promise that the heart can mend

It was a storm last spring that sealed his troubles
When Eva left him in an unmade field
Now he carries that weight, but he drags his shovel
Just waits for the ugly wounds to heal
It’ll all grow back again
We’ve all been led by a promise that the heart can mend

Cause that April day he’d fought the combine
Caught by the arm and the combine won
Now who’s to dance with a one-armed farmer
Who’s to bandage a one-armed farm

That ground grew grey and dead by August
The bed lay barren, just crying for rain
It’s been a bad year for the sweet pea harvest
It’s been a bad year for the sugar cane