Chris Smither: Live Last Night
By Mike Joyce
At the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis on Saturday night, veteran singer-songwriter Chris Smither said he's been following his 5-year-old daughter around with pen and pad in hand. Not a bad career move, as it turns out. "I Don't Know," a new song inspired by his daughter's unrelenting questions was among the evening's highlights -- a tender, wistful, funny interlude in a solo concert rooted in Southern blues traditions.
(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)
With his raspy voice, acoustic guitar and percussive left foot, Smither paid direct tribute to a few blues masters while reinvigorating Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues" and other tunes. But mostly the concert featured original compositions that revealed Smither's songwriting influences and ingenuity. For instance, "Surprise, Surprise," another new tune that appears on Smither's upcoming CD, "Time Stands Still," offered a sardonic spin on current economic bubbles and troubles.
Topical songs are always stamped with an expiration date, Smither drolly noted, but it's easy to imagine fans clamoring to hear him perform this one in concert for years to come. Some of his finest songwriting, however, has been inspired by deeply personal experiences. The minor-key ballad "No Love Today," an evocative remembrance of growing up in New Orleans, was but one stirring example.
Bonnie Raitt covered (and modified) Smither's "Love You Like a Man" early in her career, and numerous singers have since followed suit. Yet midway through Saturday night's concert, Smither proved that he's still capable of passionately reclaiming the song anytime he chooses.
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Posted by: Hemisphire | September 21, 2009 12:54 PM
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