After ten years of getting kicked out of bars in New York, Stuffy Shmitt finally figured out that “his brain was on fire” because he was actually suffering from bipolar disorder. He made the move to Nashville six years ago and, as he points out in his bio, “finally got my head screwed on tight enough to make a new record.” Stuff Happens is Shmitt’s first in eight years, although he did release two full length albums in 2012! Stuff Happens came out earlier this month and I wanted to include it before I take a little holiday hiatus from Liner Notes. The eleven song collection runs the gamut from bleak and beautiful ballads, like “Mommy and Daddy” about the realization that your parents are actually old now, an eight and a half minute acoustic guitar/harmonica jam called “The Good Land” to manic rocker, “Sweet Krazy” showing off the mad guitar skills of Aaron Lee Tasjan and Brian Wright. Stuff Happens was produced by Chris Tench, co-produced by Shmitt and Brett Ryan Stewart, and in addition to Tasjan and Wright, includes drummer Dave Colella and bassist Parker Hawkins.
Shmitt released a video that’s like a mini-movie for the first single, “It’s OK”, starring Chelsea McGinty, who can also be seen in the recent Liner Notes piece debuting the video for Foster McGinty’s “Juanita”. The McGintys, Shmitt and Tasjan were in New York at the same time before they all eventually migrated south to Nashville. Lyrically and sonically, this is a stand out track on the album and the video really brings it all together in this tale of a relationship with someone who just can’t seem to get it together. When Shmitt sings “It’s OK, forget it” in the chorus, you get the sense that he may be thinking if he keeps repeating that line, it’ll be true.
Here’s a quick one minute look at the fun that was had making the album. I’m not sure if Aaron Lee Tasjan was also hired on to do some construction, but it could explain why he’s holding a power tool…
And because it’s that time of year, here’s Stuffy Shmitt and Marlo Marron with a holiday classic.
Thank you for checking out the Local Liner Notes features I’ve been bringing you this year. Something that started out as a work around for not being able to conduct in-person interviews early in the pandemic has become a passion project for me, and hopefully for you, a new tool for music discovery! Come back for new Local Liner Notes in January, in the meantime visit my page here for all of my Liner Notes contributions this year.
Happy Holidays and thanks for listening and supporting WMOT!