Doug Schmude has flown under the radar for seventeen years, producing four studio albums and now this EP. If you have not yet heard the previous you can start here. Born in Louisiana, but residing in at least eight different states so far, Schmude’s music is as hard to place as his accent. A multi-instrumentalist, Schmude plays acoustic and electric guitars, bass, mandolin, lap steel guitar, Dobro, and even performed drums on one track on the EP.
This EP follows from the previous albums sound and has stayed true to his folk-roots style. Schmude performs simple songs, with pared-down band and instruments. He sings roughly, letting the twang vocals stay true to his talents. Schmude is a folkster, never going an album without a ballad, a hint of an accordion, the resonator guitar and some good old fashioned fiddle.
Schmude has a public playlist on Spotify called ‘Roots and Dirt‘ which includes a splendid showcase of influences including Jason Isbell, Ryan Bingham, and Carter Sampson who also guest appears on the album.
With seven tracks, this EP is practically an album, we will never know why he chose to release it as one but it certainly packs a punch regardless.
‘A World Without John Prine’ is a light-hearted tribute to our recently departed legend. Lyrics like “How am I gonna tell the truth among all the lies?” say what many of us were thinking in recent times.
‘Ballad of Early’ and ‘Old Crow‘ are very traditional folk songs telling tales of troubles, daily lives, but, slightly unusually, always upbeat – no woe here! One tells of a bird that takes problems away, and the other tells of a chap who gets out of drug dealing and sails his boat into the sunset, both lyrically surprising and unusual. ‘Feels Like Texas’ is bluesy and rock-tinged, a fun dancing number which nestles among other dancing numbers.
Doug Smude tells stories but they are all happy and he is a rare soul that can sing the blues with a silver lining. “You ain’t guaranteed all the days you can spend” he sings, and Schmude is on a mission to uplift with his time here.