Even before we knew that the best way to test your eyes was to drive to Barnard Castle, Danny Schmidt had made the connection between this year and the standard for good eyesight.
2020 Vision was written during and about the COVID-19 pandemic so you should not be surprised to feel recognition and emotional resonance: “She’s holding her breath/she’s hiding her mouth/we’re walking on opposite sides….I cross the road and she crosses herself.”
It speaks to the sense of a year passing too quickly and too slowly, lost to tedium and tenacity, childcare and barely dressed remote working, shopping despite empty shelves, and compulsive hand washing. Many other artists have found metaphor in our shared experiences but Schmidt has documented how we have actually lived during this topsy turvy, turbulent time, all set to a lilting waltz.
A Prayer For The Sane explores the wider landscape of modern lives among the haves and have nots, alternative facts, and natural disasters.
Like with its companion track, a simple instrumental line carries a clear, sometimes otherworldly vocal and strong message: “It’s time to shake the voting booth/it’s time for us to scream the truth.”
It speaks to a particular moment in time, and I thought it should be heard in that moment. I’ve rarely injected calls-to-action into my songs. I’ve more typically preferred to simply describe the world as I see it, and leave agency up to the listener. These times and circumstances are unique and, in my opinion, urgent. I believe that our agency itself, in the form of free and open Democracy is at risk and at stake. And I believe, amidst all the chaos and distraction, that our November election is hurdling towards us at a ferocious speed, and that we need to try and maintain our focus.Danny Schmidt
Third in the series was Black & Blue. Written on July 3 and released on July 4, this was Schmidt’s response to the killing of George Floyd and the protests and reevaluation that took place as a result. The song is available as a name your price (no minimum amount) download from Bandcamp.
“I wanted it to go out into the world on Independence Day, in the footsteps of Frederick Douglass’ approach to celebrating the birth of this country… naming its ideals and principles and then evaluating where we still have much work to do to complete the construction.“Danny Schmidt
2020 Vision, A Prayer For The Sane, and Black & Blue are out now.
U.S. citizens abroad can register to vote at fvap.gov