Honing a synthesis of folk and blues for 50 years, Chris Smither is truly an American original
Reviewers and fans from around the world agree that Smither is a profound songwriter, a blistering guitarist and, as he
puts it, a 'one-man band to the bone!' He melds the guitar styles of his two major influences, Lightnin' Hopkins and
Mississippi John Hurt, into his own signature sound. His music continues to draw deeply from the blues, American folk
music, modern poets and humanist philosophers.
"Acoustic Guitar" magazine writes, "Smither sings about "the big things" - life, love, loss - in a penetrating and poetic
yet unpretentious way," and Associated Press writes,"Smither is an American original - a product of the musical melting pot
and one of the absolute best singer-songwriters in the world."
His latest CD, "Still On the Levee," is a career-spanning retrospective double CD. Recorded in New Orleans with studio-mates,
The Motivators, "Still On the Levee" plays host to special guests including Allen Toussaint and Loudon Wainwright III. The
record highlights the vast catalog of an American music master.
Read more about Smither and his illustrious career
A profound songwriter, Chris Smither is deeply influenced by the blues, American folk music, modern poets, and philosophers.
Reviewers continue to praise his dazzling guitar work, gravelly voice and songwriting. Born in Miami, during World War II,
Chris Smither grew up in New Orleans where he first started playing music as a child. The son of a Tulane University
professor, he was taught the rudiments of instrumentation by his uncle on his mother's ukulele.
In his early twenties, Smither turned his back on his anthropology studies and headed to Boston at the urging of legendary
folk singer Eric von Schmidt. It was the mid-'60s and acoustic music thrived in the streets and coffeehouses and Smither
forged lifelong friendships with many musicians, including Bonnie Raitt who went on to record his songs, "Love You Like A
Man" and "I Feel the Same." Their friendship has endured with Bonnie guest-appearing on Smither's record "Train Home."
Over the years she has invited Chris to join her as support on concert dates, and most recently, lent her take on
Smither's "Love You Like A Man" for "LINK OF CHAIN," a Chris Smither tribute CD. What quickly evolved from his New Orleans
and Cambridge musical experiences is his enduring, singular guitar sound - a beat-driven finger-picking, strongly
influenced by the playing of Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin' Hopkins, layered over the ever-present backbeat of his
rhythmic, tapping feet (always mic'd in performance).
By the early '90s, Smither's steady nationwide touring and regular release of consistently acclaimed albums cemented his
reputation as one of the finest acoustic musicians in the country. In early 1997, Smither released Small Revelations. It
climbed the Americana and Triple A radio charts and led to concert dates with B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Nanci Griffith,
and the hugely successful, original Monsters of Folk tour with Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Dave Alvin and Tom Russell. "Small
Revelations" also generated several film projects for Smither. Emmylou Harris recorded his song, "Slow Surprise," for the
"The Horse Whisperer" soundtrack on MCA. And his recording of "Hold On" was used in the indie feature film "Love From
Ground Zero." Smither also shared insight into his guitar style and technique on two instructional DVDs, available from
In 2005, jazz great Diana Krall covered "Love Me Like A Man," introducing what is now a blues standard to a whole world of
jazz fans. Shortly after, Smither's song "Slow Surprise" was included in the independent film, "Brother's Shadow."
With the release of his 12th recording "Leave The Light On" (2006) on his own imprint, Mighty Albert, Smither began a new
label relationship with the renowned acoustic and modern folk label, Signature Sounds. For the recording, Smither reunited
with producer David Goodrich and session musicians Mike Piehl, Lou Ulrich and Anita Suhanin. As an added treat, Smither
invited good friend and Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist, Tim O'Brien, along with rising American roots stars,
Ollabelle, to add their distinctive talents on several tracks. The song "Seems So Real" from the CD earned a Folk Alliance
Award as Song of the Year. Smither followed this with "Time Stands Still" (2009), his most stripped down recording in some
time, working with just two accompanists after the same trio had played a rare band performance - a non-solo setup required
in order to play a Netherlands festival.
About the recording Smither says, "We're the only three guys on this record, and most of the songs only have three parts
going on. We had a freewheeling feeling at that festival gig, and we managed to make a lot of that same feeling happen in
this record." And always wanting to treat his fans well, in 2011 Smither put out two fan projects: a collection of live
tracks from newly discovered concert recordings from the 1980s-1990s titled "Lost and Found" and the rollicking EP, "What
I Learned in School," on which Smither covered six classic rock and roll songs.
Smither followed these fan-projects with "Hundred Dollar Valentine" (2012), a (MOJO) studio record of all Smither-penned
songs. With longtime producer David "Goody" Goodrich at the helm, this collection sported the unmistakable sound Smither has
made his trademark: finger-picked acoustic guitar and evocative sonic textures meshed with spare, brilliant songs,
delivered in a bone-wise, hard-won voice.
The most recent recording project is "Still On the Levee" (2014), a double-CD retrospective. Recorded in New Orleans at the
Music Shed, this career-spanning project features fresh new takes on 24 iconic songs from his vast career - including "Devil
Got Your Man," the first song he penned, on up to several of his most recent originals.
Coming out at the same time as "Still On the Levee", the book "Chris Smither Lyrics 1966-2012" features his complete set of
lyrics complemented by select images of Smither and performance memorabilia from his decades-long career. To commemorate his
career to-date, Signature Sounds is releasing an all-star tribute record including a stellar list of artists offering their
takes on some Smither favorites including Josh Ritter, Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Dave Alvin, Peter Case, Tim
O'Brien, Patty Larkin, and many others.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Start time: 7:30 p.m.
Doors open: 7 p.m.
$25 General Admission br/>
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