Acoustic blues guitarist Chris Smither laid them in the aisles, again, at the Grey Eagle on Thursday night.
OK, I admit I’m susceptible to this stuff. I was infected by Frank Rabey, the quasi-legendary Xpress music reviewer who turned me on to Smither’s stuff years ago. I listened to the CDs in my car, at home, on my computer. I played Smither’s music on my radio show. But ever and always I missed his fairly frequent appearances in Asheville. My people called his people, and still we couldn’t make a date.
Finally, Aug. 9, 2007. You hadda be there.
In person, Smither is everything he is in his recordings, plus. How many acoustic musicians have you seen who mic their feet? Billy Jonas and …? And Billy Jonas is a percussionist, mostly. Smither’s feet are his backup band, and they carry him well as he pours out smooth, driving acoustic blues that just won’t let go. And you don’t want him to stop. Two hours and more, straight through, he continued with that rich, rugged voice and impossibly deft fretwork. Ah. And ah.
If you missed him, you can catch a live set he did on my radio show on WPVM. After the Grey Eagle gig I invited him to drop by Friday morning and he turned in a 40 minute set interspersed with talk about his music and his life. Click here and click on Blows Against the Empire.
— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer