REVIEW: J. Schnitt Explores Loss, Letting Go & Reflections On Humanity In Gorgeous New Album

J. Schnitt’s new release Winter Gospel touches on the artist’s personal journey with delicate, touching songwriting and an expertly delivered collection of reflections on struggles that can resonate with any listener.

“Skipping Stones” stands out as an immediate favorite with a perfect blend of horns and backline announcing the song. The guitar trickles in as Schnitt’s melody instantly pulls the listener in and the wonderfully sung lyrics speak to lamented love and loss.

When asked about this record Schnitt says, “After releasing a bunch of records based around social commentary, politics, and American culture, It was time for me personally to get back to writing something from a more personal space. To look inward.

After a series of years that didn’t go so great personally, I wanted to
explore those hardships, and also how to find hope amongst those trying
times. Songwriting is better than therapy. It’s a record about loss,
getting lost, finding your way, hanging on, and letting go.”

“The Art of Giving Up” also stands out with a simple but beautiful song and another great masterwork in songwriting. The fingerpicking and lingering horn arrangement create an ethereal universe, that really captures the fragility of Schnitt’s personal journey and the hope we all wish to find. This was a song this listener had on repeat during a snowy, sunset walk and felt the warmth within.

Schnitt reflected about his recording process:

“I don’t really have a specific ‘recording process,’ other than I’m
always writing and recording. It’s a non-stop process that is a part of
every moment. Whether I’m in the studio or not. I’m lucky enough to have
my own studio with any instrument I might need, so that allows me to
experiment, try different things out, without the pressures of paying
for ‘studio time.’  It became apparent early on with this record of what
the overall sonic landscape would be, and I saw a common thread running
between the songs lyrically that I wanted to pursue more.

I’m not really sure if it was the right time for this record, other
than it was the right time for me personally. To be able to look in-depth at some trying times, and hope that the listeners can identify some
of themselves in the songs. Music and songwriting, like any art, I think,
are their own language. There isn’t really any other better way to communicate. A song, or painting, or poem, may be the best representation of those feelings, emotions, moments in time, landscapes, relationships, etc, that we have no other language for.”

In “High Crimes” you can sense Schnitt channeling Fleet Foxes and “Like A Kite With No String” and “Rabbit In The Road” come back again to that most excellent singer-songwriter storytelling:

“All my friends went off to witness the world, and those monsters in their minds they all tag along, they walk the streets and die without a penny of their own, and I know sometimes they’re just still looking for a home, wouldn’t you know it all these years later, they are still going strong, and there is one thing I want to know, were you ever afraid….”

– “Rabbit in the Road”

Singer/songwriter J. Schnitt is known as one of the premier songwriters out of the Northeast United States with Over 21 full-length albums, and thousands of live performances, he’s brought his unique vision of folk music all over the world.

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