This celebrated American acoustic guitar virtuoso is unique and utterly original in just about every way describable. Here is a guy who cannot be compared to others, yet somehow continues the true tradition of the old blues, while completely renewing it. There is nothing about Chris Smither that isn’t completely his own and you can pick him out of the bunch instantaneously because of his refined and distinct style. While others mimic, Smither invents. Of course, those of us who love traditional blues applaud those who mimic, so there is nothing wrong with that. (Classical music made a final art of mimicking, but somehow in that genre it is considered a good thing). But, the stylistic creativity of musicians like Smither invigorates the acoustic blues and blasts those who criticize the genre as being mere repetition.
Chris Smither is a dynamo on the guitar and a hero to the fingerpickers and finger-gawkers. His approach to languid, graveling singing is totally distinct. In the contemporary folk-blues, Smither’s entire style, from his guitar phrasing to his voice and his soulful and sophisticated guitar playing is utterly unlike anyone else. That’s a good thing, because on top of all that he is a great songwriter, whose songs have been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, among others. He has always straddled the folk-blues line, managing to combine deep blues and folk sentiments into a rich brew of Americana blues. When he lets loose on old blues classics you know that he is a deep roots player, although he certainly performs a set that is bluesy, but idiosyncratic and original.
Happier Blue 1993Flying Fish Records