LIVE: Chris Smither @ The Linda, 8/11/12

August 21st, 2012, 2:00 pm by Greg

Review by Fred Rudofsky

Calling Chris Smither a singer-songwriter is a misnomer – he is a entertaining sage, a metaphysician on acoustic guitar, diagnosing what ails mankind and offering some relief but no easy answers in his unique songs. His solo show at The Linda – featuring 18 songs from throughout his remarkable career – was a clinic in blues power and the honesty of a good song.

Appropriately, Smither started off with the entreaty of “Open Up” from “Leave the Light On.” The sizeable crowd was drawn in by his gritty voice and deft finger-picking, and many feet were tapping along when he moved on to “Lola” (not the Kinks song, just so you know).

“Hundred Dollar Valentine,” his new album for Signature Sounds, ranks among Smither’s best albums, and enthusiastically he showcased several songs from it. “Make a Little Room for Me” took wry yet eerie jabs at religious hypocrisy, climate-change deniers, and rapacious CEOs and their political lapdogs who have the system rigged (“To keep us all free, they’re going to put us in a cage/ With a fence on the border to maintain order and the minimum wage”). The title cut voiced the yearning for a lover to come home, while “On the Edge,” which Smither deemed a “hopeful song” (with a melody hinting at the chordal melancholy of Skip James’ “I’m So Glad”) argued how “it’s never too late to take a stand”, no matter how liminal one’s life may seem. And in three verses, “What It Might Have Been” captured that moment when both sides in an affair realize the passion is gone, and it is time to walk away.

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Chris Smither, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

September 14th, 2010, 2:01 pm by Greg

Chris Smither
“The first record album that I ever bought for myself was the Everly Brothers’ ‘Greatest Hits.’

And the second album that I ever bought was called ‘Blues in the Bottle’ by Lightnin’ Hopkins.”

Singer-songwriter-acoustic bluesman and more Chris Smither heads into Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Friday night, where he’ll play two shows – at 7 & 9:30pm. Tix are $22 in advance; $24 at the door.

(Related story: Chris Smither concert review)

LIVE: Chris Smither @ Caffe Lena, 8/16/09

August 18th, 2009, 12:15 pm by Greg

ChrisSmitherLike good wine, some musicians just seem to get better with age.

And that’s certainly the case with singer-songwriter Chris Smither, who served up a wealth of wonderful blues and folk songs to a sold-out crowd of fans at Caffe Lena on Sunday, August 16.

Ironically, most people still know Smither best as the author of “Love You Like a Man,” which Bonnie Raitt recorded way back in 1972 for her “Give It Up” album and made into something of her signature song.

But Smither is actually at the top of his game right now, and one of the highlights of his performance on Sunday evening was a mesmerizing rendition of “Leave the Light On,” the title track of his most recent album.

photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Phishin’ for fans?

July 23rd, 2009, 2:01 pm by Greg

Of course, any self-respecting Phish fan (is that an oxymoron?) would suspect that the Parting Glass would be the post-concert destination of choice given that the Gordon Stone Band is slated to play there at 11pm following Phish’s reunion tour-ending show at SPAC on Sunday, August 16.

But now several area mainstream newspapers have announced that members of Phish are planning to join in the post-concert musical festivities at the Glass. Like the Glens Falls Post Star. And the Daily Gazette. And…

Which means total mayhem at the Lake Ave. pub. And let’s not forget that track season will be in full bloom, too. So will the Phish boys actually be foolhardy enough to make an appearance at the Glass?

I think not.

Personally, I think the press coverage is just a diversionary tactic from the Phish camp. I’ll bet that Trey and company will actually stop by Caffe Lena for an after-hours jam with acoustic bluesman Chris Smither.

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