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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Chris Smither December 10, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Chris Smither is an American Folk/ Blues guitarist that is a fairly regular visitor to these shores. I first stumbled upon him about 15 years ago in Whelans. Smithers support act was staying on a friends couch and it was the support act I went to see. Needless to say it was Smither that caught my imagination. As a horrendous guitar player myself I was in awe at his fairly unique guitar style, which in part came from playing the ukelele for his childhood before starting to play the guitar in his late teens.
A rising star by the early seventies with two albums out, he had a tough time with drink and wasn’t active musically for the best part of a decade. Since then he’s slowly built his career back up, touring regularly and issuing the odd album here and there.
A Few eulogies..

The Irish News says that Chris Smither really does have it all. “He’s an ingenious guitarist. He’s a songwriter of startling originality. He’s an expressive, grainy-voiced singer and he’s also an engaging, witty performer.”

[Smither] taps his foot to keep the rhythm, much like the late blues legend John Lee Hooker. His finger-picked guitar lines are sleek, unhurried and insistent. And then there’s the voice — equal parts gravel and molasses, Smither’s singing sounds like a distillation of the folk and blues heroes he grew up listening to in New Orleans. National Public Radio

My personal favourite album is ‘Up on the Lowdown’ which contains two of the tracks below (‘Shake these blues’ and ‘I am the Ride’). That said all his albums are excellent but its the live shows that are really the attraction with him.
As seems to often be the case with artists I write about the selection on youtube is very limited.

His Website

A New York Times article

Shake These Blues

I am the Ride

Leave The Light On

High Heel Sneakers

No Love Today

Killing The Blues


1. Michael Carley - December 10, 2011

I saw him in Whelans as well. I think it was the first time he played Dublin, as he was opening for a wojus three piece fronted by a guy called Tinsley Ellis (don’t bother) but Smither was spectacular. We’ve probably been at the same gigs if you went to Whelans.

He usually has a Dylan song on his albums, so this is good:

and this is an anti-creationist classic:


irishelectionliterature - December 10, 2011

Glad to see that there are others out there that like him. He really is a fantastic artist.


2. pete baker - December 12, 2011

Great singer, great guitarist.

Here’s an older recording.

I’ve seen him play a few times in the north, including at Brysons in Magherafelt a few years ago- what would accurately be described as an intimate venue.

I have a live recording of that gig somewhere…


3. pete baker - December 12, 2011

I’ll try that embed again…


4. pete baker - December 12, 2011

How does that work?

Here’s the link.


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