Guitarist. Bluesman. Interpreter. Touring musician. “One of the absolute best singer-songwriters in the world” (Associated Press). For more than 50 years. Chris Smither is an American original whose genius is both in his effortless, distinctive, rippling guitar (as he tells it, “one-third John Hurt, one-third Lightnin’ Hopkins and one-third me”) and in his reimagining the acoustic blues as a vehicle for rich, philosophically complex lyrics. His songs offer a commentary on the human condition that only he can put pen to. They pull from deep in his soul, making for a kind of reflection, a timeless introspection.
More From the Levee, Smither’s 18th album, continues the milieu of his 50-year retrospective Still on the Levee (2014) Reconnecting with his roots, Smitherrecorded the latter, a double album, in New Orleans at the fabled Music Shed. What resulted were 24 fresh takes on his songs with help from some very special guests including the legendary Allen Toussaint and Loudon Wainwright III. With his fingers as supple as his voice, Smither effortlessly delivered the other half of his signature sound on Still on the Levee: the back-porch feel of intricate acoustic blues picking accompanied by his own boot-heel-on-wood rhythms.
Two weeks with longtime right-hand-man and producer David Goodrich at the helm of the sessions resulted in an over-abundance of songs in the can. More From the Levee contains ten of these extra gems including fan favorites “Drive You Home Again,” “Caveman,” and a brand-new Smither original titled “What I Do.”
Producer Goodrich recalls, “Last summer, I received a call from Chris’ manager about unreleased tracks from the 2013 New Orleans sessions that yielded his retrospective Still on the Levee. Even with that double album clocking in at 24 songs, we still had extraordinary performances left in the vault. Returning to these tracks was like finding a roll of film (remember that?) from a legendary vacation: you know you had a great time but you’re not sure what you’re going to find captured there. Well, what we found was another irreducible collection of Chris Smither songs full of great performances, intimate and immediate. Members of Morphine, the Motivators and the late Allen Toussaint help make this a truly special recording, a snapshot of some powerful music-making. I’m so pleased to share more of our vacation.”
Fans from around the world continue to fill concert venue after concert venue eager for the galvanizing ride of a Chris Smither concert. Reviewers including the Associated Press, NPR, MOJO, and The New York Times agree that Chris remains a significant songwriter and an electrifying guitarist as he draws deeply from folk and blues, modern poets and philosophers. More From the Levee continues to showcase his extraordinary effect, leaving the listener feeling touched by grace, or an almost otherworldly wisdom.