Smither does it again

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

About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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One thought on “Smither does it again

  1. Orbit DVD

    One of my most hated musical genres is the white-boy blues artist. You know the one, the guy who on the album cover is leaning back to “hit the note.” Alcohol rehab is as much cred to these guys as a weapons possession for a rapper.

    However, there are always a few exceptions and Smithers is one of them. He’s a true joy to hear and see. Glad it was another great show.


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