Sometimes the hardest things in life are the most inspiring. Mike Schmid knows this firsthand, as he draws fuel for his fire on "The House We Built," a journey through the peaks and valleys of divorce.
Going in, I expected a bit of a downer, considering the subject matter, but the songs and sounds are surprisingly upbeat and diverse, from the groovy "I Can Try" to the glossy "Today I'm OK." Sure, there are some melancholy moments, like "Little Noah," a gorgeous ballad for his son, and "In My Dream," a surreal and creepy journey down a dark river.
Like his previous album, "The High Cost of Living (A Love Story)," this is a journey through love and loss, which adds up to more than the sum of its beautiful parts. It is also a generous album, which doesn't spend too much time on anger, instead quickly moving through to more interesting themes like regret, redemption and restoration.
Unlike the difficult experiences that must have inspired this album, when it ends, you'll want to start it all over again. It is far too rare to hear a record like this in our times of single-song downloads. You won't regret picking this one up.