Bob Schneider
Plus: Mobley

“It’s nice to be alive,” Bob Schneider sings on Katie, the second song off of his new record “Blood and
Bones”, his 6th since his 2001 solo debut Lonelyland. While this might sound like naivety or blind
optimism, for Schneider, one of Austin’s most celebrated musicians, this observation was earned
through experience. “Most of the songs are about this phase of my life,” he admits. “I’m re-married, I
have a 2-year-old baby daughter who was born over two months premature because my wife had life
threatening preeclampsia. So dealing with that traumatic event while getting older and looking at death
in a realistic, matter of fact way, experiencing the most joy I’ve ever experienced along with feelings of
utter despondency in a way that would have been impossible to experience earlier in my life all comes
out in the songs. My relationship with my wife is the longest committed relationship I’ve ever been in,
so there was a lot of unchartered territory there to write about.”

The songs on Blood and Bones reflect this. Recorded quickly with producer Dwight Baker, who has
worked on Schneider’s last 6 releases, the album highlights the chemistry that Schneider and his backing
band of Austin’s very best musicians have developed while relentlessly playing live, most notably at the
monthly residency Schneider has held at Austin’s Saxon Pub for the last 17 years. “I didn't want to
overthink the songs,” Schneider says. “I really respect Dwight’s ability to make great calls when it comes
to what works and isn't working when we are recording the songs. I felt pretty good about the quality of
the songwriting, so I figured that would come through in the end if we just went in and played them the
way I do live.”

While the performance and production are stellar, the songwriting finds Schneider in a particularly
reflective mode. Sure, there are live favorites like “Make Drugs Get Money” and “Texaco” that will get
even the most reserved crowds dancing. But more often the album finds Schneider reflecting on
marriage, parenthood and mortality. “I wish I could make you see how wonderful everything is most of
the time, but I’m only blood and bones,” he sings on the title track, a meditation on the beauty and the
limits of marriage. Later, on “Easy” he tells his daughter “it’s always been a scary thing to do, to let my
heart fall down into the endless blue, but it’s easy with you.” Through it all, there is a clear sense of
mortality, of just how fleeting all of this is. “The hours and days stack up in the mirror,” he sings on
“Hours and Days”. “We’re just snowmen waiting for the summer” he signs on “Snowmen”, before
adding “we can’t bring them back, can’t bring nothing back.”

One thing Schneider has excelled at in his career is bringing audiences back. Though he has received
little national press or major label support, he has managed to become one of the biggest acts in Austin,
if not Texas. His fans, who often discovered him after being brought to his shows by their friends, are
fiercely loyal. Many have attended dozens or even hundreds of shows. Thanks to these fans, Schneider
has won more Austin Music Awards than any other musician, including Best Songwriter, Best Musician,
and Best Male Vocals.

  

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