“Smither is an American original – a product of the musical melting pot and one of the absolute best singer-songwriters in the world.”—Associated Press.
Maybe it’s the cover of his blues standard “Love Me Like A Man” by Bonnie Raitt (a firm favourite in her live set list) or its 2005 version by Dianna Krall: maybe its his friendships and working relationships with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Dr John, Lowell George, and folk/blues legends Son House, Fred McDowell and Eric Von Schmidt : or maybe it’s the wonderful cover of his song “Slow Surprise” by Emmylou Harris for the movie ‘The Horse Whisperer’. Whatever and wherever … it’s inevitable that somewhere the music and lyrics of Chris Smither has entered your life.
A profound songwriter, Chris Smither is one of North America’s leading folk roots artists, renowned for his alluring, yet gravelly, baritone vocals, superb song writing and dazzling guitar work. He draws deeply from the blues, American folk music, modern poets, and philosophers, setting up songs with his quietly virtuosos guitar-playing and the ever-present backbeat of his rhythmic, tapping feet (always mic’d in performance – decades ahead of the stompbox).
He’s known for his dry, dark, understated humour as well as the blistering social commentary in his lyrics, and his singular guitar sound, a beat-driven finger-picking, strongly influenced by the playing of Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins.
He’s a product of growing up in New Orleans, the Boston and Cambridge folk-blues scene of the 60’s, a seminal musician the industry and its players hold dear in their collective heart. His star has properly blazed since his 1997 release ‘Small Revelations’- which climbed the Americana and Triple A charts – and led to numerous sync and movie soundtrack appearances.
All this (and his other 11 albums) lays the foundation to this most recent recording, Hundred Dollar Valentine, a studio record of all Smither-penned songs — a first for him. With longtime producer David “Goody” Goodrich at the helm, this newest collection sports the unmistakable sound Smither has made his trademark: fingerpicked acoustic guitar and evocative sonic textures meshed with spare, brilliant songs, delivered in a bone-wise, hard-won voice.
Honing a synthesis of folk and blues for more than 40 years, Chris Smither is truly an American original. As Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote, Smither sings about “the big things – life, love, loss – in a penetrating and poetic yet unpretentious way.” And with Hundred Dollar Valentine, he’s at it again.
Bluesfest is proud to welcome back to Australia for this his 6th tour to our shores – and his first return to Bluesfest since 2007, the absolute one and only Chris Smither.