Chris Smither doesn't do much here that he hasn't done throughout his long career, but there's no crime in consistent excellence. That career, launched during the Boston folk revival of the late '60s, has now encompassed a dozen albums, with a lengthy hiatus throughout most of the '70s and '80s as Smither battled the demons of alcoholism and addiction. He re-emerged in the early '90s as a wizened troubadour, equally adept at self-deprecating humor and heartbreaking balladry, and he continues that tradition on Leave the ...
Chris Smither doesn't do much here that he hasn't done throughout his long career, but there's no crime in consistent excellence. That career, launched during the Boston folk revival of the late '60s, has now encompassed a dozen albums, with a lengthy hiatus throughout most of the '70s and '80s as Smither battled the demons of alcoholism and addiction. He re-emerged in the early '90s as a wizened troubadour, equally adept at self-deprecating humor and heartbreaking balladry, and he continues that tradition on Leave the Light On. As is typical of all his releases, the album's 12 songs split the difference between folk and blues. Smither's propulsive acoustic fingerpicking, heavily influenced by bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins, is as unobtrusively impressive as ever. He's not flashy, but he plays exactly what fits each song. Multi-instrumentalist Tim O'Brien and neo-gospel acolytes Ollabelle contribute fine, understated accompaniment, but Smither is the real star here, wrapping his raspy baritone croon around his increasingly pointed, literate songs of hope and regret. Smither has a knack for selecting exemplary covers, and the sampling on Leave the Light On is no exception. Peter Case's forlorn "Cold Trail Blues," mentor Hopkins' harrowing "Blues in the Bottle," and Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" (offered as a slow, meditative waltz) fit the ruminative, downcast mood perfectly. But his originals hold their own with the stellar covers, and, if anything, he continues to improve as a songwriter. The title track is an unapologetic refusal to grow old and quietly fade away, while "Shillin' for the Blues" probes the kind of 3:00-a.m.-stare-at-the-ceiling introspection that is equal parts despair and resolute conviction to carry on. "Origin of Species" is a hilarious sendup of the biblical creation story and the theory of evolution, while the rollicking "Diplomacy" is one of the few protest anthems of the Bush era that isn't full of sputtering, inarticulate invective, and that actually exhibits wit and insight: "We got some freedom, we got the iPod store/We got the savior, you couldn't ask for more/Take it or leave it, it's the deal of the day/And if you leave it, you get it anyway." That kind of incisive commentary fuels the entire album, and if the barbs seem more pointed than usual, perhaps they reflect the impatience of a man who has never suffered fools gladly, and who is doing some of his best work in what by all rights ought to be the twilight of his career. This very fine release is proof, if any is needed, that the light is still on, and shining very brightly. ~ Andy Whitman, Rovi
Fair. Ex-Library rental. Disc(s) are professionally cleaned and may contain only light scratches that do not effect functionality. Includes disc(s), case, and back artwork. Front booklet may be missing. Disc(s), case, and back artwork may contain library/security stickers and ink writing. Case and artwork may show some wear. ARTWORK MAY BE UNORIGINAL AND PRINTED BY LIBRARY. Case may not be an original jewel case. All disc(s) are authentic.
Good. Punch-hole/mark-out through barcode in back. Art and case in reasonable or better condition. CD shows some wear, but is Guaranteed to Play Perfectly! SHIPS WITHIN 24 HOURS! Tracking Provided. DHL processing & USPS delivery for an average of 3-5 Day Standard & 2-3 Day Expedited! FREE INSURANCE! Fast & Personal Support! Careful Packaging. No Hassle, Full Refund Return Policy!
Like New. Inside of digipak case signed to previous owner by Smither. Scratch free disc, original artwork, and case are all in great condition. Free upgrade to First-Class USPS shipping in the US. Satisfaction Guaranteed!