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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2016
CHESTER MEETING HOUSE
SPONSORED BY ESSEX SAVINGS BANK
About Chris Smither
Chris Smither was born in Miami during WWII. He grew up in New Orleans, where he first started playing music as a child. The son of a Tulane University professor, he was taught the rudiments of instrumentation by his uncle on his mother’s ukulele.
“Uncle Howard,” Smither said, “showed me that if you knew three chords, you could play a lot of the songs you heard on the radio. And if you knew four chords, you could pretty much rule the world.” With that bit of music under his belt, he was hooked. “I’d loved acoustic music – specifically the blues – ever since I heard Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Blues in My Bottle album.”
In his early twenties, Smither turned his back on his anthropology studies and headed to Boston where, in the mid-‘60s, acoustic music thrived in the coffeehouses and the street scene. Smither formed lifelong friendships with many musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, who asked him to join her on concert dates. (She has continued to play and record his music.) During this time Smither’s characteristic guitar sound evolved – a beat-driven finger picking, strongly influenced by the playing of Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins layered over the ever present backbeat of his rhythmic, tapping feet.
In the early ‘90s, Smither’s nationwide touring and regular releases of highly acclaimed albums cemented his reputation as one of the finest acoustic musicians in the country. In 1997 he released Small Revelations. It climbed the Americana and Triple A radio charts and led to concert dates with B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt and Nanci Griffith, and the hugely successful, original Monsters of Folk tour with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dave Alvin and Tom Russell.
Small Revelations also generated several film projects for Smither. Emmylou Harris recorded his song, “Slow Surprise,” for the Horse Whisperer soundtrack. His international touring led to an expanding global interest in his work. His song “I Am the Ride” inspired the independent film, The Ride, for which he also composed the original score.
Honing a synthesis of folk and blues for 50 years, Chris Smither is truly an American original. As Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote, Smither sings about “the big things – life, love, loss – in a penetrating and poetic yet unpretentious way.”
Program will be announced from the stage.
There will be one intermission.
At the conclusion of the program, members of the audience are invited to meet Mr. Smither at a reception and share refreshments generously donated by La Vita Gustosa.