Simone Schmidt is no stranger to country music. Their band The Highest Order took the genre through a psychedelic ringer, attaining transcendence by way of twang. Prior to that, there was One Hundred Dollars, offering up country of the alt variety to audiences across Canada. It was present in their first releases as Fiver, tinting the fringes of 2013 debut Lost the Plot and the haunted folk refrains of 2017’s Audible Songs from Rockwood—a heart-wrenching song cycle retelling the real-world case files from the Rockwood Asylum for the Criminally Insane in the gentle drawl of Schmidt's voice.
All of those projects tackled the genre at a remove, though. It was only on 2020’s You Wanted Country? Vol. 1, that they faced country music head-on. Never one to take a project lightly—the extensive liner notes and expansive research that accompanied Rockwood are all the proof you need of that—Schmidt dug deep into country history, celebrating and deconstructing the genre with a blend of razor-sharp insight and boundless empathy. Their latest release Fiver with The Atlantic School of Spontaneous Composition is an ethereal, ear-bending, improv-riddled exploration of country and is as original as it is unusual. You wanted country? This is it.
Biography by Peter Hemminger