Standard Deviation

by Danny Schmidt

supported by
Gregory Flatt
Gregory Flatt thumbnail
Gregory Flatt Just the best songwriter in the world at the top of his craft is all. If "Standard Deviation" doesn't move you, check your pulse - you dead. Favorite track: Standard Deviation.
Marco Saucedo
Marco Saucedo thumbnail
Marco Saucedo I was lucky enough to be able to attend the release celebration for this album. Like all his work, it's amazing, full of all sorts of emotion. Never before has a song been able to move me to tears so consistently. Favorite track: Bones Of Emotion.
Infinite Mosaic
Infinite Mosaic thumbnail
Infinite Mosaic The words we use to describe the world around us and the lives we live are important. They impact us in ways we aren't often aware of, and have consequences we don't always know how to name. Danny's lyrics bring those consequences to light in the most heartfelt ways. Favorite track: We Need A Better Word.
/
1.
LYRICS TO "JUST WAIT TIL THEY SEE YOU" It’s mid-September but it smells like spring It smells like spring, yes it smells like spring It’s mid-September but it smells like spring Like the ink is hardly dry The world stops spinning while the baby sleeps The baby sleeps, while the baby sleeps The world stops spinning while the baby sleeps And the angels knit their wings Her lips keep moving but she makes no sound She makes no sound, no she makes no sound Her lips keep moving but she makes no sound She’s got so much left to say She holds my finger like I hold my tongue I hold my tongue, like I hold my tongue She’s holds my finger like I hold my tongue As if we don’t have to share I’ve seen the redwoods and the northern lights The northern lights, yes the northern lights I’ve seen the redwoods and the northern lights Well just wait til they see you Just wait til they see you
2.
LYRICS TO "WORDS ARE HOOKS" Don’t look back, they’re right behind you Sent to find you, bring you home But words are hooks in hearts and minds So you can’t close your eyes and hide And just hope they’ll go away Careful that the words don’t choose you Tell your tongue to step where you do Cause when the wolves doubt come growling And confusion sets your mind to howling Your mouth just runs away Don’t you cry you’re only human All consumed and all too proud But now’s the time while wounds are open To go and mend the bones you’ve broken And the messes that you’ve made Letters have a way of spilling Ink stains from a cloud of feelings Kneel before the fount of reason Say a prayer for one clear season While the goddess screams amen Every step’s as light as feathers Every crumb’s a clue And every word might last forever Best they all be true Don’t despair, they’re there to guide you Fireflies that dare to light you Words are hooks in hearts and minds They’re the hoof prints through the sands of time As they lead you by the ears
3.
LYRICS TO "STANDARD DEVIATION" A chalkboard full of secrets, it was like some kind of code To tell the stars and planets how to fall and how to glow But when she turned to face the classroom there was chalk upon her nose Like the ghost of Madame Curie or a clown in women’s clothes And the boys dismissed the work so quick, they laughed at her instead As just a girl who spilled some numbers from her head Late night in the library in the basement by herself Alone amongst the books again, at home between the shelves She was searching for some answers when she stumbled in the dark On a girl with colored pencils and black eyes like question marks They said hello in stereo, then they both just stood and stared As a normal sort of silence filled the air The girl asked her what she studied, what she read so late at night The thoughts that filled her notebooks and the stars that filled her eyes But she said she couldn’t tell her, she said she’d just get bored It was story told in numbers not a story told in words But the girl just laughed and leaned right back, said “Try me if you dare A story’s when there’s something more to share” Bridge: So she shrugged and her hands began to speak A dance of differentials and of poetry in Greek She solved for new dimensions and vibrations of the strings From a single derivation all the worlds could rise to being And she drew concentric circles with her finger in the air And they glowed where there were nodes along the manifold they shared To be in perfect symmetry, joined in all degrees They touched in ways that no one else could see The girl’s eyes lit with fire, like milk and kerosene It was the smartest thing she’d ever heard and the hottest thing she’d seen So she grabbed her by the brainstem and she threw her to the floor And they kissed like their equations had never balanced quite before Cause every lonesome thesis just describes the unobserved There’s always one who’ll fall upon the tail of every curve There’s so many locks, so many doors, so many twisted keys Within the standard deviation from the mean
4.
LYRICS TO "BLUE-EYED HOLE IN TIME" You were a flower in the weeds When your blue eyes opened up to me You wouldn’t turn away Until my courage rose to meet your gaze Then I fell right in There’s a hole in time There’s a hole in time There’s a hole in time And we’ve fallen through We’ve fallen through We’ve fallen That’s when I fell in love with you It was all my stolen heart could do But I didn’t stand a chance When you asked my swollen heart to dance I fell right in There’s a hole in time There’s a hole in time There’s a hole in time And we’ve fallen through We’ve fallen through We’ve fallen There’s just no way I could explain How it is that stardust breathes again But you answered without words That you’ve always been and always were I fell right in There’s a hole in time There’s a hole in time There’s a hole in time And we’ve fallen through We’ve fallen through We’ve fallen
5.
Newport '65 04:16
LYRICS TO "NEWPORT '65" You danced with the bar girls and sang with the band And you poured every round through the holes in your hands Til their cups runneth over with the blood of the man On the lips of the faithful and mean With a love that was fierce and obscene You were the shepherd and they were the sheep And they marched in a line with their backs to the beat Til you taught them to follow the souls of their feet Then they trampled your words in the grass With a mighty wind thick at their backs The path of the prophet is crooked and cruel When every false turn means a fall from the truth And every new road’s a betrayal of proof They'll scream and they'll squeeze you for more Of the visions you showed them before Come gather round people wherever you roam And admit that you've stripped your own god to the bone And accept it that soon you'll be praying alone Like you never had listened at all As if you never had listened at all So you asked them, at last, if they’d lend you a hand And of course they would give you their last grain of sand So you begged them to kneel at the sins of their friends And they fell and they wept for their loss As you climbed them and stepped to the cross
6.
LYRICS TO "AGENTS OF CHANGE" The neighbor's house is burning With flames that rise so fast and mean The white folks run with empty buckets And tears of gasoline I hang my head and blame the others With a match stick in my teeth The neighborhood is flooded Still every day the stakes just rise But if I could I'd dam the waters And curse the open skies I'd drain the lakes and streams of credit And I'd watch those ink stains dry I never thought that as the streets got shined The money and the time could change the course When better's for the worst When better's for the worst But now I fear for a tiny slice of pie I became that guy, I became that guy, that guy, that guy That's just the way, the glory and the shame The agents of the change Now there's a wall around the courtyard So tall no gypsy thieves might climb But what's the point of castle towers With all your friends outside So fill the mote with beer and pretzels I’m climbing down tonight
7.
LYRICS TO "LAST MAN STANDING" Brand new bottle but the same old cup I’ll be the last man standing when the sun comes up With a brand new promise to the same old gal I’ll be the last man dancing when the sun goes down I’d pray the lord my soul to keep But my soul don’t need much sleep Brand new shovel but the same old hole I’ll be the last man digging when the boys go home With a brand new blister but the same old hands I’ll be the last man begging when the work day ends I’d pray the lord my soul to save But the lord’s out saving face Brand new fingers but the same old pie I’ll be the last man kneeling when the king rides by With a brand new banner but the same old crown I’ll be the last man laughing when the axe comes down I’d pray the lord my soul to bring But the lord can kiss my ring One good woman, one good night And one soft place to fall One good reason or one good lie To raise my head . . . To raise my head at all Brand new bottom but the same way down Ain’t no good sorrow that a man can drown Brand new wagon but the same old ride Ain’t no good beating that a man can hide I’d pray the lord my soul to take But I’ll take my own . . . I’ll make my own . . . I’ll claim my own mistakes Brand new bottle but the same old cup I’ll be the last man standing when the sun comes up
8.
LYRICS FOR "THE LONGEST WAY" I’m here to say that if you take the longest way You might just find that eventually’s just fine Making scenes and taking postcards in between It’s quite the day when you can take the longest way Old dirty cars, they used to shine like lucky stars And they still might if they catch your eye just right And if they do they’ll surely whistle back at you It’s quite the day when you can take the longest way It’s like sittin’ down to Mama’s cooking Gathered round by Daddy’s side All it takes is stop and lookin’ All it takes is one loooooong drive Rolling south, where she’ll kiss you on the mouth Sweet New Orleans, she’s just as easy as she seems From pines to palms, beware the southern charms It’s quite the day when you can take the longest way Then head back north, where she’ll pay you what you’re worth Sweet Manitobe, she’s cuddly when she’s cold From palms to pines, beware the simple signs It’s quite the day when you can take the longest way It’s like sittin’ down to Mama’s cooking Gathered round by Daddy’s side All it takes is stop and lookin’ All it takes is one loooooong drive An empty town is like a girl in grandma’s gown Cause in their times, they’re both beauties in their primes Still today, it just takes a certain gaze It’s quite the day when you can take the longest way Now roads are straight, now they’re so fast you miss your fate Give me bends and give me miles and miles of friends Give me curves and the secrets they preserve It’s quite the day when you can take the longest way It’s like sittin’ down to Mama’s cooking Gathered round by Daddy’s side All it takes is stop and lookin’ All it takes is one loooooong drive
9.
LYRICS TO "BONES OF EMOTION" It was the day after Christmas and all through the house The kids were hung over from toys Her husband was happy but still running his mouth Just the biggest of all of the boys She sipped at her coffee and studied the scene As her family emerged to the couch from the sea The tears filled her eyes and they ran down her cheek Like a string of lights from the tree Love and devotion, desire and dreams The bones of emotion sometimes we can’t see Til we wrap them in lights and we light them again And behold that this is only the skin Henry was seven, Vanessa was four They were making up stories in bed She ‘d draw the pictures while he’d write the words “The Adventures of Hiccup The Bear” She listened in wonder and she wondered in awe How their streams and their rivers ran nowhere at all Like the whips of the snow in the globes of their brains It’s a wonder we’re all not insane Love and devotion, desire and dreams The bones of emotion sometimes we can’t see Til they’re covered in pixie dust, stories and songs To be fair they were there all along Football was ugly, her husband was loud He was cheering for both teams to lose Cause the Aggies are cheats and the Irish too proud And they both try to buy our recruits Cursing and crying and carrying on Teaching the children the right teams from wrong And that they are the Texans that the eyes are upon Til they faded away in his arms Love and devotion, desire and dreams The bones of emotion sometimes we can’t see Til they’re wrapped in our arms, they’re sealed with a kiss And for now this is all that exists
10.
LYRICS TO "WE NEED A BETTER WORD" It seems to me we need a better word To fill the gap between the facts of what we say and what we’ve learned When absolutely damn near every mother that I’ve known Has miscarried and lost a baby a time or time before It seems to me we need a better word It seems to me that someone needs to say As simple and as open and as obvious and plain Cause the shame is in the secret and the secret is the shame When absolutely damn near every mother that I’ve known Has miscarried and lost a baby and held herself to blame It seems to me that someone needs to say It’s just a word, as if she dropped it on the floor It’s just a word, as if it’s something she did wrong It seems to me our bodies know what’s right An ancient meditation on the chemistry of life A thousand generations casting blessings in disguise When absolutely damn near every mother that I’ve known Has lost a baby and felt it carried off into the light It seems to me our bodies know what’s right It’s just a word, as if she dropped it on the floor It’s just a word, as if it’s something she did wrong Seems to me we’ve all defied the odds Cause to lie among the living is to fly among the gods To share the mother’s heartbeat and to pass the mother’s blood And absolutely every single time a baby’s born It chose to be and knows to be the holiest of forms Seems to me we’ve all defied the odds It’s just a word, as if she dropped it on the floor It’s just a word, as if it’s something she did wrong It seems to me we need a better word

about

Standard Deviation is Danny Schmidt’s tenth studio record, and the second independent release since leaving venerable Americana roots label, Red House Records. These new songs have the same sort of lyrical complexity and poetry that has distinguished Schmidt’s earlier work, but this time they’re draped in the lush ear-candy production of strings and steel guitars and ethereal girl harmonies.

Standard Deviation tackles some difficult themes and subjects, from gentrification to infertility, radical honesty to quantum entanglement. But more than any other, the themes of fatherhood and family emerge on this record, as Schmidt recently became a first time father, sparking powerful meditations on human connectedness, and on the transformation of identity into the role of Papa. And on the blinding love released by that process.

credits

released March 8, 2019

MUSICIANS:

Danny Schmidt - Acoustic Guitar & Vocals
Carrie Elkin - Harmony Vocals
Mira Stanley Costa - Harmony Vocals
Cara May Gorman - Harmony Vocals
Chuck E Costa - Harmony Vocals
Colin Agnew - Drums & Percussion
Will Robertson - Bass, Piano, Keyboards, Harmony Vocals
Fats Kaplin - Pedal Steel, Violin, Viola, Banjo, Mandolin
Southpaw Jones - Harmonica


TECHNICIANS:

Produced by Will Robertson

Recorded and Mixed by Will Robertson at Gallop Studios in Atlanta, GA
Assistant recording engineer - Spencer Poole

Mastered by Nick Landis at Terra Nova Digital Audio in Austin, TX

Amazing Album Art Embroidery by Michelle Kingdom

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

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

contact / help

Contact Danny Schmidt

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this album or account

If you like Danny Schmidt, you may also like: