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Country: Americana Folk: Singer/Songwriter Moods: Solo Male Artist Moods: Featuring Guitar

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United States - Minnesota

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Steven J. Schmidt

Steven J. Schmidt is a Midwestern singer/songwriter who has written over 200 songs, and each one is like a bottle of fine, bourbon barrel-aged stout. He performs his rich, full-flavored original tunes, crafted over the last forty years, at house concerts, coffee houses, brew pubs, wineries, and festivals. A highly skilled guitarist some refer to as “a folkie with chops,” Steve is noted for his fingerpicking, novel chord voicings, use of alternate tunings, and playing up-the-neck.

The last year has seen Steven touring in support of his most recent project, “Heartland,” which was released in December of 2015, and his 2014 release, "The Road." Both albums are available on his web site ( and through CD Baby, Amazon, and I-Tunes. Steve’s music was recently featured in a PBS-affiliate KSMQ-TV's "Off 90" segment and KQAL’s “The Live Feed Presents: Steven J. Schmidt," which can be accessed on the Public Radio Exchange’s web site. Recent gigs have taken Steve from Duluth, MN (Fitger’s Brewhouse) to Chicago, IL (Uncommon Ground and The Tonic Room), and Winona, MN (The Acoustic Café - Winona) to Madison, WI (The Lakeside Street Coffee House), and Eau Clare, WI (The Acoustic Café - Eau Claire) to Mount Horeb, WI (Fisher King Winery).

Jeff Pieters of the Rochester Post-Bulletin (“5 Things to Do This Weekend,” February 27, 2015) referred to Steve as “…a talented guitarist and gentle, introspective lyricist.” Sean Dowse, the recently retired Executive Director of the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, MN wrote, “Steven J. Schmidt’s song lyrics are a vivid mix of deep honesty and vulnerability that seamlessly meld with haunting and engaging melodies. In the midst of an audience unfamiliar with Steve’s artistry, I observed immersed attention and enthusiastic response to deft musicianship and a new and penetrating vision. I look forward to having him back in Red Wing and highly recommend his show, his songs, and his appealing brightness.”

Steve has direct links to and has worked with many folk music icons during his career. As a board member of Sing Out, Inc., publisher of Sing Out! magazine, folk music books and recordings, Steve worked with and swapped songs with Pete Seeger. While on a business trip to Washington, D.C., folk music great Cathy Fink asked Steve to perform on the "I Have Seen Freedom" album she and Marcy Marxer were producing for Si Kahn. He developed friendships with and learned songs from such artists as The Boys of the Lough and Lydia Mendoza as a performer, stage manager and host at the National Park Service’s "Border Folk Festival." While working for a concert series during graduate school, Steve sat in with Dewey Balfa when Dewey's guitarist was unable to make a trip and helped present a workshop with Elizabeth Cotton and Mike Seeger. Steve has played in various settings ranging from workshops to song circles and conferences to festivals, with such performers as Doc Watson, David Holt, Bryan Bowers, John McCutcheon, Tom Paxton, and Peter Yarrow.

While working in Topeka, Kansas, Steve competed at the National Flatpicking Championship and National Fingerpicking Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas and placed third in the Folk Guitar Division and fifth in the Folk Singing Division of the Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championship. Steve’s music was twice featured on in-studio performances on the "Flint Hills Special" radio show aired on KANU-FM (University of Kansas). While working as Director of Arts Resources for the City of El Paso, Texas, he was a frequent performer on Dan Lambert’s "Blues Train" program on KTEP-FM (University of Texas at El Paso) and he performed during the 10th Anniversary Celebration for "A Prairie Home Companion," broadcast from the Chamizal National Memorial Theater.

Steve makes his home in Rochester, Minnesota where he is General Manager of City of Rochester Music Department/Riverside Concerts where he books and supports more than one hundred distinct services each year. Steve and his wife, Elizabeth, are the principals at West Channel Records and West Channel Music publishing.