Some people pull a face when the "p" word — poetry — is mentioned. That is hard to imagine having listened to a good three months of holiday favorites from the hallowed halls of commerce to the local parish pews.
Real poetry, the kind that speaks to the big things, life, love,
loss, in a deep and affecting way, set to music, is what the best
songwriting is all about.
Eighteen records in, Chris Smither remains a significant songwriter and an electrifying guitarist. An American original, he draws deeply from folk and blues, modern poets and philosophers. His new recording, “Call Me Lucky,” is his first set of brand new originals in six years. It is packed with Smither trademark songs that offer commentary on the human condition with a wink of an eye and pulls from deep in the soul. A couple of surprise covers remind us of Chris' deftness as a song interpreter as he makes the songs his own. We are pleased as punch that Chris Smither is touring
in support of this new record, and has chosen to stop in Aberdeen at the Rooster’s Wife Friday, Jan. 17, at 6:45 p.m.
Born in Miami during World War II, Chris Smither grew up in New
Orleans where he first started playing music as a child. The son of a Tulane University professor, he was taught the rudiments of
instrumentation by his uncle on his mother’s ukulele.
“Uncle Howard,” Smither says, “showed me that if you knew three chords, you could play a lot of the songs you heard on the radio. And if you knew four chords, you could pretty much rule the world.” With that bit of knowledge under his belt, he was hooked.
“I’d loved acoustic music – specifically the blues – ever since I first heard Lightnin’ Hopkins’ ‘Blues In My Bottle’ album,” he says. “I couldn’t believe the sound Hopkins got. At first I thought it was two guys playing guitar. My style, to a degree, came out of trying to imitate that sound I heard.”
In his early 20s, Smither turned his back on his anthropology
studies and headed to Boston at the urging of legendary folk singer
Eric von Schmidt. It was the mid-1960s and acoustic music thrived in the streets and coffeehouses there.
Smither forged lifelong
friendships with many musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, who went on to record his songs, “Love You Like A Man” and “I Feel the Same. Their friendship has endured as their career paths intertwined over the years.
What quickly evolved from his New Orleans and Cambridge
musical experiences is his enduring, singular guitar sound, a
beat-driven finger-picking, strongly influenced by the playing of
Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins, layered over the
ever-present backbeat of his rhythmic, tapping feet, always mic’d in
The Rooster's Wife is a community arts organization dedicated to
bringing the best in live music to the Sandhills. Home base is the
listening room of Poplar Knight Spot, 114 Knight St. Children are
welcome, with admission waived for the under 12 set. No BYOB, please; a full bar is available featuring Reverie Cocktails, James Creek Cider and Southern Pines Brewing products.
Supper will be available for purchase. Check social media for menu.
Tickets to this general admission show are $30 for members. Annual membership may be purchased online or at the door.
For more information, the complete schedule,
or to purchase tickets online, visit www.ticketmesandhills.com or call (910) 944-7502.