Jim Drake’s Entertainment Blog: Claudia Schmidt plays new venue in TD April 21

What’s the best way to describe a 12-string guitarist with an affinity for the mountain dulcimer who describes her 40-year career as more of a “careen”?

“One of the nicest introductions I ever got was ‘Claudia brings honor to the word hodgepodge,’” singer-songwriter Claudia Schmidt said in a recent interview.

Claudia’s music slides from lively folk to jazz, whether it’s for a house concert or in front of thousands at a major folk festival.

“I ramble around all over the place in my concerts from song, spoken word, and lots of singing along. It's always a festive event and people are energized at the end of the night,” Claudia said.

With 19 albums recorded, she doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

“My music friend Sally Rogers and I have completed a new CD celebrating 35 years of singing together. It's called ‘We Are Welcomed’ and will be out in early May. I will probably be doing a few songs from that,” Claudia said.

Claudia’s first record appeared in 1979, and critics say the self-titled work still holds up well.

“I lived in a small town when I got my first guitar, which I taught myself to play. There was not much in the way of resources, and I had already been writing poetry. I starting writing songs so I would have something to play. As far as my career goes, I call it more of a 'careen,’” Claudia said.

“I was just suddenly doing it, and in this business of playing music, unless you become a superstar, the audition is never over.

According to Claudia, she’s felt a contradiction because to her, music has never felt very solid from a job point of view. But since she’s been a full-time musician for 42 years, she feels it’s been solid from an artist standpoint.

I wondered if there was any particular theme that stood out in Claudia’s music.

“I would say that each CD is its own creature, since it is the stuff I have been writing in the time up to its recording. What they share is lots of variety of style. I like to explore our little foibles with tenderness and humor, and nature has always figured into the imagery in my songs, which have a strong visual component to them. The nice thing about participating in lots of different kinds of music is that I have those things to draw from when I am writing. It gives me a lovely large musical toolbox,” Claudia said.

Claudia Schmidt will be at Gorge Community Music, 410 East Second Street, The Dalles, on Thursday, April 21. Concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 tickets available at the venue or Klindt’s Booksellers.

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