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Excellent Intelligent Great Fingerpickin’ CD from Chris Smither

Chris Smither’s 2006 CD “Leave The Light On”
has some great songs that have very contemporary
commentary, excellent fingerpickin’, and a tune
that was chosen the 42nd best song of 2006
by Rolling Stone magazine.

How about a turn-on to a good CD of music from 2006!
Chris Smither’s “Leave The Light On” comes from a man
born in 1944, a guitar player who likes fiddles. This is
not rock n roll, but I like it. The sound is more mature
Motel 6 kinda bluesy pickin’ with some terrific timely
politico-poetic songs included among its twelve cuts.
“Diplomacy” is the most uptempo tune, tho the drums
are a bit muted. The lyrics go:

“It’s getting edgy, time to find a war
There must be somethin’ worth fightin’ for
Peace is so peaceful, it ain’t a way to survive
When nobody hates you, nobody knows you alive

We got the guns, we got the oilmen too
They’re like a choir, they wanna sing for you

We got some freedom, we got an 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”

Another interesting tune is “Origin of Species”
which has lines like “Charlie Darwin looked so
far into the way things are, He caught a glimpse
of God’s unfolding plan. God said “I’ll make
some DNA, they’ll use it any way they want
From paramecium right up to man
They’ll have sex, and mix up sections of their code;
they’ll have mutations
The whole thing works like clockwork over time
I’ll just sit back in the shade while everyone gets laid
That’s what I call intelligent design”

Somehow “Origin Of Species” made it into the
Rolling Stone Top 100 songs list for 2006.
Popping in, according to the Smither website
at #42. Oh, but I disagree. There are better
songs with purtier tunes right here on this CD.

Overall, the sound and what reviewers have called
the “unhurried”ness of Mr. Smither’s guitar picking
give the CD its soothing, professional master-you-are-
listening-to feel. said of Mr. Smither, and this CD:
“Chris Smither delivers one of the most riveting live
shows you’re ever likely to see. His growling vocals,
badass finger picking and uniformly brilliant songs
are here in spades.”

Blues Revue quoth:
“This peerless singer-songwriter is also one of
modern blues’ finest fingerpickers.”

The CD, to me, is not perfect. But so many of the
songs are rewarding to the soul and ear. Dylan’s
“Visions of Johanna” is probably the worst
attempt Smither plonked onto the plastic. Very
squared rhythm of both singing and tune. But
“John Hardy” is different, and
delightful. A traditional song, maybe the verses
are not the ones I always remember. I loved the
way Paul Jones and Manfred Mann did this one on
their second album back in 1964. And so do I love
the title tune “Leave The Light On.” And
then there is maybe the prettiest guitar of all, on
the last cut, a reprise of John Hardy. Oooooh…….!

Peter Case’s “Cold Trail Blues,” which seems
to linger the longest after the CD is played, and
“Father’s Day,” which makes you feel the pangs
of age and loneliness, obviously written about
Mr. Smither’s dad, are two additional stellar
compositions on the CD.

Go get this one, I heartily recommend it!

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