Uncut - 11/03, p.1094 stars out of 5
- "...A masterclass in deftly-picked country blues guitar....Warm and wise in equal measures..."
Living Blues - 9/03, p.90
"...A typically eclectic Smither set....On the vaguely British-sounding 'Never Needed It More', he casts himself at the mercy of fate with a true believer's courage and a Beat poet's irony-honed wit..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 10/03, p.1143 stars out of 5
- "...This ruggedly beautiful installment reveals a new way forward..."
Personnel includes: Chris Smither (vocals, guitar, sound effects); Anita Suhanin (vocals); David "Goody" Goodrich (acoustic guitar, slide guitar, high strung guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, reed organ, bass); Bonnie Raitt (slide guitar, background vocals); Mike Piehl (drums).
Personnel: Chris Smither (vocals, guitar, background vocals); Anita Suhanin (vocals, background vocals); David "Goody" Goodrich (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, reed organ); Bonnie Raitt (slide guitar, background vocals); Richard Downs (horns); Mike Piehl (drums, cymbals).
Audio Mixers: David "Goody" Goodrich; Mark Thayer.
Photographers: Abigail Seymour; Carol Young ; Thomas Petillo.
Unknown Contributor Role: Chris Smither.
Chris Smither settles into his distinctive combination of folk and blues with this excellent release. Although not pushing established boundaries, his rich, velvety voice and mature spoken-sung vocals convey a sense of truth and add depth to these introspective compositions. A bit of early Tom Waits creeps into his leathery vocals on a jaunty cover of Dave Carter's "Crocodile Man," but Smither is best defined by the fingerpicked folk-blues. Bonnie Raitt, a fan from way back, contributes harmony vocals and slide guitar to his gentle eight-minute version of Dylan's "Desolation Row." Some tunes are percussion-free, providing the singer's honey growl of a voice and clean acoustic guitar the most space to maneuver. Smither is loosest lamenting about his stolen car and its psychological effects on "Let It Go," a track that, with his muttering and grouching, seems to have been recorded in an impromptu moment. A gentle cover of Mississippi John Hurt's "Candy Man" -- the album's only unaccompanied performance -- shows Smither's rather evident roots, and his closing waltz-styled version of Buffalo Springfield's "Kind Woman" reveals less obvious ones. Accompaniment by right-hand man David "Goody" Goodrich, who plays keyboards, guitars, and even something called a pinewood diddley bo, subtly enhances nearly every track on this quiet gem. ~ Hal Horowitz