New Goodbyes and Old Hellos is a concept album which finds Claudia Schmidt dividing her efforts almost equally between covers and her own songs. Though the idea of devoting a record to an exploration of growing old is a good one, and Schmidt's supple and technically flawless voice is just as powerful as ever, the original compositions unfortunately fall flat compared to many of the other first-rate tunes. Though she has never been strictly a folkie, Schmidt here seems intent on not only examining emotional territory, but on making a political statement. Sadly, her attempts often seem naïve and preachy when paraded out next to such profoundly moving pieces as Pete Seeger's "Old Devil Time," or Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands." Luckily, Schmidt is a good enough singer to make even her most overwrought stuff worth a listen, but the extreme differences in approach make for a flawed record overall. That said, Schmidt's performances of other people's songs are often transcendent, her opening treatment of Bob Franke's "Hard Love" being no exception. This is the kind of tune that Claudia Schmidt does best: melancholy, world-weary, and quietly, overwhelmingly human. In 1992 Flying Fish re-released New Goodbyes, Old Hellos and Schmidt's 1985 album Out of the Dark on a single CD.