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Chris Smither

Leave The Light On

Chris Smither - Leave the Light On 01. - Open Up (2:55) 02. - Leave the Light On (3:48) 03. - Shillin' For The Blues (4:33) 04. - Seems So Real (4:26) 05. - Origin of Species (3:06) 06. - Cold Trail Blues (4:30) 07. - Diplomacy (2:38) 08. - Father's Day (4:39) 09. - Visions of Johanna (5:23) 10. - Blues in the Bottle (3:30) 11. - John Hardy (3:13) 12. - John Hardy (reprise) (1:33)
  • Chris Smither - vocal
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49.00 PLN


Nr kat.: SIG2001
Label  : Rounder

to Jego piosenki śpiewają: Diana Krall, Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt

Chris Smither's 'Leave The Light On' Draws from Blues, Folk, Poets and Philosophers Posted: 2006-06-14 BOSTON, MA -- Chris Smither, whose songs have been covered by Diana Krall, Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt, to name a few, is one of a handful of musicians active today who were on the scene during the folk / blues renaissance of the '60s. Born in Miami and raised in New Orleans - where he first heard the blues - before heading on to Boston at the onset of that city's late '60s musical greening, Smither has carved a reputation for transforming blues roots into modern-day songwriting craft. His forthcoming twelfth recording, Leave The Light On, is defined by bright, intricate guitar work, driving foot stomps and assured interplay with a cadre of superb musicians. Leave The Light On marks the start of a new label relationship for Smither. The album will be released on his own imprint, Mighty Albert, in association with the renowned acoustic and modern folk label Signature Sounds. For the recording, Smither reunited with producer David Goodrich (Peter Mulvey, Jeffrey Foucault, Avalon Blues: A Tribute to the Music of Mississippi John Hurt) and session musicians Mike Piehl (drums), Lou Ulrich (bass) and Anita Suhanin (vocals). They were joined by Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Tim O'Brien (Hot Rize, Kathy Mattea) and rising American roots band Ollabelle, whose own album was released last year on Sony Music. The title track, “Leave the Light On”, combines an up-tempo rollick with the gravity of a hymn. In ever-building harmonies with O'Brien, Suhanin and Sean Staples, the topic is clearly mortality yet the tone is not somber but joyful. Contrast that with the heavy blues of “Seems So Real” with its spooky backing vocals from Ollabelle. For that track, producer Goodrich summoned up the call-and-response quality of an old Mississippi Fred McDowell recording. “Origin of the Species” is a wickedly pointed swing tune, and probably won't be a hit with the Kansas Board of Education. Peter Case's “Cold Trail Blues,” rendered here as a duet with Anita Suhanin, espouses the penetrating ache of longing. And “Diplomacy” is a full-tilt rocker; a big, loud shot across the bow of a cotillion of war-driven empty suits. The album concludes with a trio of songs that have inhabited Smither's world for upwards of 40 years. First there's Bob Dylan's “Visions of Johanna” as a waltz. That is followed by a bone-rattling version of Lightnin' Hopkins' “Blues in The Bottle” -- from the first blues album Smither ever owned -- in which he's written new taglines to Lightnin's verses. The album closes with a ghostly version of the standard “John Hardy”, with Smither's guitar, foot taps and vocals supported one last time by the vocal and instrumental talents of O'Brien, Ollabelle and Staples. Acoustic Guitar magazine, which recently featured Chris Smither on its cover, cited his gift for addressing “the big things -- life, love, loss -- in a penetrating and poetic yet unpretentious way.” That would just about sum up Leave The Light On. ------------------- Music Review: Chris Smither Leave the Light On Written by Ray Ellis Published September 18, 2006 See also: » Music Review: The Black Crowes Who Killed That Bird Out On Your Window Sill... The Movie(DVD); Freak 'N' Roll.. Into The Fog-All Join Hands The Fillmore, San Francisco (CD) » DVD Review: Black Label Society - Doom Troopin' Live (The European Invasion) » Music Review: Not Life Threatening - Solomon True, when he first gained national attention some forty-odd years ago, Chris Smither was associated with the folk blues movement of the time. But to dismiss him as a "modern blues" player in 2006 indicates a lack of appreciation for the multitude of influences that drive his music. With a finger-picking guitar style that is equal parts Lightnin' Hopkins and Django Reinhart, and a baritone voice borne of Jack Daniels and Leonard Cohen, Smither transcends categorization. On Leave the Light On, Smither realizes his full potential in a work that is sometimes jaded, and at others almost whimsical, but always threaded with the odd coupling of romanticism and cynicism unique to the American psyche. "I'll live to be a hundred./ I was born in forty-four./ Thirty-nine to go/ But I ain't keepin' score," he laments in the title tune, setting the tone of the theme of mortality that runs through the album. It's by no means defeatist, though. Smither may be a bit long in the tooth, but he still has plenty of brimstone left in him. And it is in striking the brimstone that Smither's genius truly lies. He's out to spark the stone, not set a fire with it. "Origin of Species" is a hilarious send-off of both intelligent design advocates and strict evolutionists told from God's point of view. Set to a Texas swing rhythm, it immediately disarms both forces through the comical logic of it all. "Diplomacy" is a commentary on current US international policy as seen through the eyes of Jerry Lee Lewis and the jukebox mentality. When he does play the blues, Smither has no peer among the current crop of players. Drawing on the roots of the genre, his thumb-opposing-two forefingers style of playing harkens back to the roots of recorded blues, as in his version of Hurricane James Hurt's "Blues in the Bottle." More a tribute to his main influence, Lightnin' Hopkins, it nonetheless conjures a vision of blues at its purest - acoustic, raw and from the gut of the soul. Neo-gospel group Olladelle's back-up vocals lend an Appalachian flavor to the lilting "Seems So Real." Anita Suhanin's haunting voice adds an atmospheric dimension to "Cold Trail Blues" and "Shillin for the Blues," serving as a perfect counterpoint to Smither's smoky leads. Leave the Light On is a distinctly American work, regardless of the angle from which Smither approaches any individual song. His cover of Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" is turned on its side and treated as a waltz, with mesmerizing results, and his rendition of "John Hardy" is played in a manner not that far removed from the classic Carter Family recording. Musical spirits roam this album, from Delta blues to Texas swing to bluegrass to urban ballads, and Smither masterfully weaves the various idioms into a unique whole. Full of irony and poignancy, Leave the Light On showcases Chris Smither at what may be the pinnacle of his career. Here is an artist who has evolved over the years at his own will, and it shows on every song on this album