Monday, October 02, 2006

Leave The Light On - Chris Smither

Chris Smither is a favorite on the Bus. His signature deep, grumbling voice and deft guitar playing are unmistakable. It's that voice that makes you lean forward and listen with a little more attention to make out the lyrics. That extra effort on the part of the listener draws an audience in to an intimacy with Chris Smither, his upbeat, driving guitar and the ever present tapping of his boot complete the near hypnotic experience.

Chris Smither studied anthropology at the University of the Americas in Mexico City for a year before transferring to Tulane University. It was at Tulane that he was introduced to the music of Mississippi John Hurt. For his junior year he enrolled in school in Paris. He spent the year partying and playing his guitar rather than attending classes and was kicked out of school. In 1965 he returned to his native Florida where he crossed paths with Eric von Schmidt. It was von Schmidt who convinced Smither to take his music to one of the big folk centers of the time, either New York or Cambridge, Massachusetts. Chris Smither packed his guitar and moved to Cambridge where he gained a loyal following and recorded several albums. His song "Love Me Like A Man" was recorded by Bonnie Raitt. He spent most of the 1970s at the bottom of a bottle. Fortunately, he sobered up and started recording again, producing several outstanding recordings. His latest, and in my opinion, best release to date was released just last month.

"Leave The Light On" is his first recording for one of my favorite record labels, Signature Sounds.
Buy a copy of "Leave The Light On" here or at your local record store.

Chris Smither - Leave The Light On.mp3

Chris Smither - Diplomacy.mp3


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