There are a number of ways to announce and celebrate an engagement – cards, social media and of course the classic, and sometimes unfortunately cheesy, engagement photo.
For Austin musicians Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin, releasing an album together called For Keeps seemed like the perfect way to mark the occasion.
“We had just gotten engaged and it just felt like it was a good organic way to celebrate the engagement,” said Elkin. “The album is sort of relationship based. Not only the romantic, but the real side of it. The hard stuff and challenges that we all face in relationships and what that means. It was a nice lens into relationships.”
The two met in Memphis, Tenn. several years ago at the International Folk Alliance Conference through mutual friends.
“I thought she was cute,” Schmidt chimed in, as Elkin told the story of their meeting and began to laugh.
The friend who introduced the pair ended up singing them down the isle during their wedding, an event that they both described as fun, but also a bit of a circus.
“It is interesting waiting until you are a little bit older when you get married because you collect a lot of people along the way and we had so many different people from so many different walks of life and to see everyone collide,” said Elkin.
Both were successful musicians before they collaborated both in marriage and artistically. Elkin had been named one of Texas Music Magazine’s artist’s of the year in 2011 and Schmidt was called one of the ‘50 most significant songwriters in the last 50 years’ by the Chicago Tribune.
For Keeps seems to have had a particular impact on people though, something Elkin thinks has to do with relatability, explaining that the album isn’t only about their relationship.
“There are some songs that are more personal to us but there’s also songs that we’ve taken from just observing the outside world and seeing the challenges that people have in relationships,” she said.
Working together has also allowed the two to learn a lot from each other as artists, according to Schmidt, in both writing and performing.
He described Elkin as being a much more comfortable performer.
“I get scared up in front of people and so I’ve learned a lot from her about enjoying that part of things,” he said.
Schmidt also described his writing as more cerebral and Elkin’s as coming from a more emotional place.
Elkin said this works well for the live performance where the two styles compliment each other – after one of Elkin’s emotional songs, a song by Schmidt that is ‘brilliantly crafted’ comes in at just the right time for the audience.
“Mine are also well crafted, but I am a little more extreme to the emotional side. I think the audience enjoys hearing both of those things. I think people enjoy both kinds of shows,” said Elkin.
Although the couple said they imagine they would come back together to record another album when the material calls for it, they said they still feel fairly focused on their own personal artistic visions.
Elkin is putting together material for her solo work, while Schmidt just finished production on a solo project that will be out sometime this year.
“We will still tour together a decent amount just cause it is the best way for us to see each other,” said Schmidt. “We will be more focused this year on our solo material.”
You can catch the couple playing at the Cochrane Valley Folk Club Feb. 7. For more info visit cochranefolkclub.com.