Standard Deviation


Owls | Acoustic Demos

For Keeps









For Keeps Cover
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Released by Red House Records


"Clouds collide and shapes blow by
Raindrops cry themselves to sleep
Red hot sun in a big blue sky
And a new cloud comes to be. "


For Keeps is a relational record. At its core is a group of songs, half written by me and half written by Carrie, that revolve around relationship. Not necessarily our relationship, but Relationship with a big R. As our personal lives have woven into our artistic lives, it seemed only appropriate that our first collaborative album explore the many dimensions of Relationship.

We were concerned that people would hear that the album was "about relationships," and they would immediately dismiss it as an album of love songs. And while there are a couple love songs, to be sure, love is just one piece of this very complicated three-dimensional puzzle of Relationship.

And though we didn't set out purposefully to photograph relationship from all sides and present a complete and perfect rendering . . . after several years together, taking occassional snapshots from different viewpoints, a multi-dimensional model began to emerge, organically.

What's unique about this particular project, I think, is that it allowed for a sort of His & Hers perspective to emerge together.

Carrie takes lead on half these tunes, and I take lead on the other half. We wanted the album to share the same "passing the guitar back-and-forth" quality of our live shows, her turn to speak, my turn to speak, each of us joining the other in harmony. We added one special twist of Carrie singing one of my songs, and me singing one of Carrie's songs, which was a sweet way to get inside each other's writings a bit, and a good way to kick off the recording process.

The songs ended up covering quite a wide swatch of relational topics, from community and friendship, to communication, to setting down common roots together, to marriage and union, to the struggle to maintain one's own identity, to grappling with fertility, to the times together that are challenging, and to the times together that are effortless.

Carrie and I met playing music at the 2007 International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, TN. At the time, we were each touring solo full time. But as our personal relationship developed over the course of the next several years, so did our artistic relationship. And starting sometime in 2010 or 2011, we began travelling together more and more, sharing some shows, sharing some songs, and generally carrying on.

It was good for our spirits, and good for our relationship. And folks seemed to like the collaboration. And so we've continued to format our tours this way, as often as we're able.

Though we still write independently for the most part, as we each would finish new songs, it became obvious that certain of those songs belonged together with one another . . . they had a relational quality that mirrored our own relationship. And we threw those tunes in a hopper together, and those are the ones that became For Keeps.

We still cultivate our individual careers, and our individual artistic voices, but now they are in better balance with our collaborative voice. For Keeps is the culmination of our time together these last few years. It's the first of what I imagine will be more projects together in the future. We're very proud to present you with our first duo project . . .

We hope you enjoy the album . . .

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click each song title to read lyrics

1. Two White Clouds
written by Danny Schmidt

This song is a bit of a fertility blessing, and a bit of a children's fable (with a meteorlogical twist) on where babies come from.

2. Echo In The Hills
written by Carrie Elkin

This song is a vibey, atmospheric play on the Echo & Narcissus mythology, a song about finding and keeping one's own sense of self and identity in the process of coming together with another strong individual.

3. Kiss Me Now
written by Danny Schmidt

This is the proposal song that Danny wrote for Carrie when he asked her to marry him at the SXSW music conference in 2013. Wanna see how that turned out? Check this out!

4. Company Of Friends
performed by Carrie Elkin, written by Danny Schmidt

Carrie does an extremely powerful, anthemic version of Danny's classic tune. A song about how it's our relationships and community that really forge our own identities.

5. Swing From A Note
performed by Danny Schmidt, written by Carrie Elkin

Danny dusts off this beautiful song of Carrie's that had slipped into quiet obscurity. It's an intimate lilting performance of an intimate song about slowly building trust in the image we've constructed of our partners in our own heads.

6. Took It Like A Man
written by Carrie Elkin

This song is about being stuck in the middle of the seemingly interminable decision of committing (or not) to someone.

7. Sky Picked Blue
written by Danny Schmidt

This is a simple playful song about Love's relentless crusade of bringing two people together, our hopelessness in resisting, and the inevitability of its success.

8. Longing Moves The Ocean
written by Carrie Elkin

When fertility isn't easy and effortless, it can feel as though it's impossibly difficult and hopeless. This song is about the longing, struggle, and adventure of wanting something badly, and then the heartbreak, mourning, and healing process when that dream goes unfulfilled.

9. If I Need To Know
written by Danny Schmidt

This song is the gentle give-and-take reminder between partners that you need to ask for what you want. And yes, I might also be able to listen better so you needn't always ask.

10. Girl In The Woods
written by Carrie Elkin

This song is a pure and easy love song, that we're stronger, braver, freer, and brighter when we're in partnership together.

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The Production:

This album was a joy to make. We made it collaboratively, and we made it swiftly. We didn't even list a "Producer" in the credits. It sort of produced itself . . . or more like everyone involved "produced" it together with us.

We put a small band of our friends together (our very talented friends), rehearsed for three days in our home, and then cut the whole thing live in three days with another very talented friend, Keith Gary, at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, TX.

We kept the sonic pallet small, limited almost exclusively to this core group of musicians. There's something about the energy of working with close friends. And there's something about the energy of capturing everything live, and keeping everything simple and essential.

The Musicians:

These folks are so talented and joyful to work with that it was truly an embarrassment of riches. . .

Drew Pressman - standup and electric bass
Colin Brooks - electric, steel, and dobro guitars
Matthew Shepherd - drums
Raina Rose - harmony vocals
Chip Dolan - organ and piano
Keith Gary - organ and piano
Johann Wagner - harmonica
Paul Curreri, Devon Sproule, and Rebecca Loebe - additional harmony vocals

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