Wanderingted is both the alias of the singer-songwriter Ted Schmitz and the clue to what he sounds like. His debut album ‘I Could Be You’ is a folk-rock journey to a new place somewhere between Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he was born; a garden shed in London where he wrote the album; and his current abode and band location, Berlin. Through his downplayed, disarmingly beautiful voice over the ground of Midwestern twang from banjo picking and guitars, along with poetic elegance from the piano, Schmitz takes the listener on a wandering journey that evokes all of these places and somehow, a new place for the listener to dream of.
Contrasting styles and drastic musical shifts bear delicious fruit: like the reflective piano breaks that follow lightning banjo verses in ‘The Water of All My Days’; or the groove in the almost hip-hop drums in ‘Someone Hides from Someone’ against the delicate texture of the vocals, guitar harmonics and crystalline piano; or the snowballing of energy that the musical shifts yield in ‘To the Gods of Minnesota’.
Schmitz found himself making songs over a year in which extraordinary political winds were threatening all of the countries he ever called home and his own father was dying of cancer. From this turmoil, he seems to have found a rich combination of melancholy and humour. These are chewy lyrics; nothing is spoon-fed. At times the lyrics are deliciously playful, with rhymes such as “I know I could be mistaken, but while cooking my bacon…”, or poignant and straightforward as in the ballad ‘Nevertheless’.
This is Indie Folk folks, but not as you know it.