Chris Smither in Concert
Honing a synthesis of folk and blues for 50 years, Chris Smither is truly an American original
Great news: Chris has recovered from heart surgery and is back on the road. We're thrilled to report
that his tour schedule will take him to Arena Theater in October, we can't wait!
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!' Drawing deeply from the blues, American
folk music, modern poets and humanist philosophers, Smithers melds the guitar styles of his two major
influences, Lightnin' Hopkins and Mississippi John Hurt, into his own signature sound: a beat-driven
finger-picking, layered over the ever-present backbeat of his rhythmic, tapping feet which is always
mic'd in performance.
"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
His latest CD, "Still On the Levee," is a career-spanning retrospective double CD highlighting the vast
catalog of an American music master. 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.
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 Homespun Video.
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.
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
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
The most recent recording project is "Still On the Levee" (2014), a double-CD retrospective. Recorded
in New Orleans at the Music Shed. The 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.
Tuesday, October 11
Start time: 7:30 p.m.
Doors open: 7:00 p.m.
$25 General Admission br/>
Click here to...
Housing for Chris Smither and underwriting for the show is provided by
Coast Guard House Historic Inn and Cottages, Point Arena.