Chris Smither Live As I'll Ever Be (2-CD)
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- Released: July 18, 2000
- Originally Released: 2000
- Label: Hightone Records
CMJ - 8/7/00, p.42"...His trademark percussive foot taps, his gravelly voice, and masterful guitar playing, we can hear clearly that Smither is essentially a one-man band."
JazzTimes - 11/00, p.120"...Features Smith's smoky voice and mesmerizing guitar work, accompanied by only the percussive sound of his tapping feet..."
- 2.Hold in I
- 3.The Devil's Real
- 4.Link of Chain
- 5.No Love Today (Intro)
- 6.No Love Today
- 8.Winsome Smile
- 9.Slow Surprise
- 10.Help Me Now
- 11.Small Revelations
- 12.Can't Shake These Blues
- 13.Dust My Broom
- 14.I Am the Ride
- 15.Up on the Lowdown
- 16.Killing the Blues
Solo performer: Chris Smither (vocals, guitar).
Recorded live in California, Massachusetts, Virginia & Ireland between 1996 & 1999. Includes liner notes by Chris Smither.
Audio Mixers: Darleen Wilson; Brian Capuch.
Recording information: Emerson Umbrella, Concord, MA (1996-1999); Palms, Davis, CA (1996-1999); Recorded Live, California, Virginia Beach, MA (1996-1999); Roisin Dubh, Galway, Ireland (1996-1999); Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA (1996-1999); St. Kevin's Church, Hollywood, CA (1996-1999); Sweetwater, Mill Valley, CA (1996-1999); The Barns, Wolf Trap (1996-1999); Vienna, VA (1996-1999); Whelan's, Dublin, Ireland (1996-1999).
If anyone should have a live album it's Chris Smither. This veteran singer/songwriter has made a career of stunning solo performances such as these, where his lived-in baritone, sublime Mississippi John Hurt-derived fingerpicking, and rhythmically stomping feet are enough to mesmerize his audience. Smither did release a live-in-the-studio album, 1991's sublime ANOTHER WAY TO FIND YOU, where he performed solo for a small group of invitees, but that served mostly as a career resume for a man who hadn't released an album of new compositions in nearly 20 years. That album marked the beginning of Smither's revitalization; he subsequently released four superb albums of new material in the '90s.
LIVE AS I'LL EVER BE focuses exclusively on Smither's '90s work and captures all the soulful energy and quiet charisma he injects into a live performance. His songs alternate between eloquent expressions of existential angst ("The Devil's Real," "Can't Shake These Blues"), and dispensations of hard-won wisdom that cast a cautious but clear eye toward a bright future ("Link of Chain," "I Am the Ride"). They're all delivered in a folk/blues style that speaks of dues paid but that's far too graceful to be called gritty. For a solid overview of Smither's second phase, look no further.
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