I was born in 1942 in South Philly at the Naval Hospital. My dad was a career military man in the U.S. Marine Corps. He fought in the Pacific. We moved from base to base most of my childhood. I even had my own little Marine uniform, of which I was very proud. We lived in Virginia, Barstow, California, North Carolina, Guam and South Jersey. We finally settled in South Jersey and I spent all four years in the same high school. In 1960, I left behind my girlfriend and went into the seminary to study for the Catholic priesthood. I received my B.A. in Classical Philosophy and pursued my masters in English Literature at Villanova and my masters in theology at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. I did not finish either.
I taught high school English, Latin, and Religion for the next few years, married the lovely Marian and we had our five wonderful children. We worked, played ball, camped a lot, and did ballet and church for years. I played guitar and sang my songs at church and at home with the family. Marian and I both loved having the kids. They eventually became known as the Danielson Famile.
I did carpentry for about 30 years. As the kids grew up they all worked with me and learned quite a bit about building. We had so much fun working together. Daniel started recording himself and others and eventually recorded me singing some of my songs on my album, "Deep Calls To Deep," which I love. I now have about 180 songs. I started writing songs in the late 60's for the folk masses we were introducing at the seminary. I only have one hit, "Our God Reigns," but I AM not dead yet! If I live to be 95, that will give me plenty of time for more hits.
Now that I am 64, my perspective on life has changed quite a bit. I no longer care about being famous or extremely wealthy or successful or saving the world, although they are fine with me. The thing I AM most happy about is that Marian and I are close and communicating well and the kids have married very well indeed. This whole grand children thing is really quite a trip! I think maybe happiness can happen after all, even here.
I'm not doing carpentry any more. I've been trying to place tracks from artist friends in movies, tv, and ads and am having success. This is fun, but not as satisfying as building things.
Since I will be around until about 2038, the plan is to release a new album about every 2-3 years. This way, I will get most of my better songs out there. After I die, I will probably be "discovered" and my songs will be covered and used even more than Dylan's...but we'll have to wait for all that. Right now I have to stop and go take the trash out. -Lenny Smith
Click here to hear Lenny singing for 30 minutes live on the radio! / WMBR, 88.1 FM (MIT's radio station) on the program 'Phoning It In'. The show starts about 3:30 minutes into the stream.
Click here to download the sheet-music for Lenny's 'But For Those Who Fear My Name', most recently recorded by The Welcome Wagon. Click here to read Sufjan Stevens ruminations on the song, and to listen to both the original recording and Welcome Wagon's take on it!