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Bob Schneider lets his songwriting say it all

| Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Let the Light In," the first song on Bob Schneider's new album "A Perfect Day," is an irresistible piece of songcraft in which all elements come together seamlessly. Wry lyrics incorporate a "Wizard of Oz" theme; a lovely melody carries the song; Schneider's vocals contain equal parts warmth and mirth.

Was Schneider striving for a sublime moment• Simply, no.

"The thing that stops me quicker than anything is trying to write something great or good," says Schneider, who performs Tuesday at Club Cafe, South Side. "I just write. I know how to write songs , I know how to record them in my little studio. Later on, I try to figure out if they're any good or not. I try to make them interesting as I'm doing it, but I'm not trying to write a big hit song."

Schneider, based in Austin, might not be a household name, but he is remarkably consistent. And prolific. Every week, Schneider pens a song as a part of a friendly competition among peers from across country. Everyone takes the same phrase and attempts to incorporate it in a song.

"Ultimately, really what it is, it just makes you write songs," says Schneider, who notes that the songs on "A Perfect Day" came by way of the venture. "When we started doing it, we would write a song every day or two. Now, we've gotten it down to where it's one a week."

Schneider estimates he's written more than 500 songs because of the project, in all manner of genres and styles. His range is limitless, as he utilizes the entire spectrum of music, from pop to funk to soul to rock.

But there's a dual nature to almost every song on "A Perfect Day." While the music is brightly lit, the lyrics are often dark. On "Funcake," a jaunty, Beatlesque melody is counterbalanced by lines such as "birds are dying all around us/everywhere I look I can see that."

Admitting the presence of "dark lyrics," Schneider says he wanted to feature songs that aren't "too much of a downer. Like on 'Everything You Love,' that's a pretty nihilistic song, but the music is pretty uplifting. I've always liked that juxtaposition of the tone of the music and the tone of the lyric. I figure if you're going to do gangster lyrics, you should do that over a ballad or a rock song. ... Just do the opposite to make the song interesting, hopefully. That's what the goal is."

Schneider's other aim is to make music that is timeless. He's averse to trends, and can't imagine a snippet of any of his songs being played for a focus group to determine whether it's commercially viable.

But he'd be ecstatic if "A Perfect Day" has a long shelf life.

"I know when I put out a record that, at least for a few months, I've enjoyed it," Schneider says. "Hopefully, you can listen to it 10 years from now and still enjoy it. Or, you can listen to it 150 times and still enjoy it, or enjoy it more. That's the goal."

Additional Information:

Bob Schneider

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Admission: $20

Where: Club Cafe, South Side

Details: 412-431-4950 or website

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