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Leave The Light On [CD]

Chris Smither Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 11.61 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 Oct 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Signature Sounds
  • ASIN: B000H0M5BK
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,996 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Open Up
2. Leave The Light On
3. Shillin' For The Blues
4. Seems So Real
5. Origin Of Species
6. Cold Trail Blues
7. Diplomacy
8. Father's Day
9. Visions Of Johanna
10. Blues In The Bottle
11. John Hardy
12. John Hardy II

Product Description

Product Description

This is Smither's 12th recorded album since 1970 and was produced by David "Goody" Goodrich, who also produced Smither's 2003 CD, 'Train Home'. Special guests on the album, which was recorded at Signature Sounds Recording Studio in Pomfret, CT (Feb. 7-19, 2006), include Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Tim O'Brien and rising American roots stars Ollabelle. With this new album Chris Smiter has created a work that keeps the spirit of classic country blues legends alive while taking their blues-rooted music in breathtaking new directions with his smart lyrics and distinctive musical grooves. Chris Smither was raised in New Orleans and joined the Cambridge, Mass roots-blues movement in the late '60s where he forged friendships with Bonnie Raitt, Eric von Schmidt, Geoff Muldaur and others. His songs have been covered by singers including Raitt, Diana Krall and Emmylou Harris. Smither tours continuously year-round across the US, Canada, Europe and Australia.

Product Description

Pretty new record; folk songs, blues, and ballads. Almost all-acoutsic line-up. CHRIS SMITH - acoustic gtr/voc, DAVID GOODRICH - electric gtr/upright bass, TIM O'BRIEN - mand/voc, JAZER GILES - pno, LOU ULRICH - bass, DAVE GOODRICH -MIKE PIEHL - drums,

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smither's big blue beacon still shining 12 April 2007
By Huck Flynn VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
The strengths of this release are Smither's song selection and his amazing delivery - these shine through a flawed mix by David Goodrich to produce a marvellously rich musical experience. The fitting opener (Open Up) has a gentle country swing that would be immeasurably improved by turning up the volume on Tim O'Brien's great mandolin - it is drowned out by Goodrich's less than inspired guitar accompaniment. The title track is more typical Smither - an R&B meditation on ageing disgracefully, great lyrical craftsmanship, catchy melody (dammit - how can he make 3 chords sound so good!) but once again Goody's guitar is irrelevant, if not distracting. Shillin' for the Blues is a darker slower blues or loser's lament- a perfect vehicle for Smither's rich tones and ontological themes - a clever recipe for a blues cocktail "Take a little slow resentment, an ounce of small regret ..." wonderful, clever, tongue in cheek stuff. Goody's moody electric more subtle and effective here. The more rocky Seems So Real continues the existential mood with Goody on bottleneck but he doesn't cut loose even when he gets the chance. I'm not convinced the female backing vocals work well here. Origin of Species is pure Smither's whimsy - his analysis of the creationist / evolution debate debunking the current american bible belt "Intelligent Design" compromise. It's a great catchy beat but once again Tim O'Brien's mandolin can barely be heard noodling about in the background behind Goodrich's frankly uninventive guitar. Pity - song is brilliant live. On Peter Case's Cold Trail Blues , similar to Killing the Blues, Smither's lovely guitar finger work gets room to breathe. Goody's spanish-style nylon strung adds some value but is a bit hackneyed and Anita Suhanin's vocals don't add much value. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant little known artist 21 Oct 2010
By Tim
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I heard the title track on the blues and boogie show on Jazz FM and ordered it the next day. Great songs, great voice, Chris should have a bigger audience methinks. Brilliant versions of Dylan's 'Visions of Johanna' and the trad. 'John Hardy', but Chris's songs are well up to that standard. Of his own tunes the stand-outs for me are the title track and 'Father's Day'; both full of what sounds like hard-won wisdom, and the latter is heartbreaking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 12 Mar 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Probably the best singer-songwriter in the last quarter century. This is a very polished, upbeat album for Chris. It is hard to describe his country/folk/blues sound and name some other artists with whom he compares, but if you like Doc Watson, Townes VanZandt, John Prine, Leo Kottke and country blues, you should like this. Don't wait too long to get to know this fantastic artist.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Rich Red Wine 5 Oct 2006
By Lee Armstrong - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Chris Smither has been turning out a consistently excellent catalog of music. Each new release is a worthy successor to the last. "Leave the Light On" is another excellent collection. The first track, appropriately titled "Open Up," has a country flavor with Tim O'Brien's mandolin percolating with Chris' usual wit, "It comes as no surprise that I can't analyze my usual refusal to open up my eyes." The title track is an acoustic gem that observes the passing of time, "It's like water. It runs right through our fingers, but the flavor of it lingers like a rich red wine." On "Seems So Real" the band Ollabelle joins on background vocals on a sweet shuffle. My favorite track is "Origin of the Species" as Chris takes on Darwin and offers evolution as the divine technique. Peter Case's "Cold Trail Blues" receives a soft embrace from Chris & his distinctive acoustic guitar style. On a CD where Massachusetts native Smither thanks John Kerry, he then rocks out politically, "We got the guns, we got the oilmen too, They're like a choir, they wanna sing for you. Wham! Bam! Slip-slidin' away; The less you got, the more you gonna pay." He ends, "It's the land of the free, blind and leadin' the lame." "Father's Day" is a gentle slow tune for anyone who has loved their dad. Chris' version of Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" shines the familiar melody, "Just Louise & her lover so entwined; & these visions of Johanna that call from my mind." Two traditional tunes, "Blues in the Bottle" & "John Hardy" conclude this strong set. Chris Smither's music is soulful, rootsy, gentle but sometimes violent with witty lyrics that tweak your mind while your foot taps to the beat. Bravo!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues, with a sense of humor 24 Sep 2006
By Theresa J. Alsup - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I love this CD. It's hard to write a review that doesn't make this sound less than it is, it's that good. Smither's writing has never been better, and his covers-- Cold Trail Blues and Visions of Johanna-- bring a whole new beauty to each piece. My favorite is the title track; it's catchy, tightly written, warm, full of understanding and that touch of humor that distinguishes Smither's work. I'm with him on Origin of Species (like I am on Train Home.) They draw such a gentle line between where we can be sure of ourselves and where we probably shouldn't. And after listening to Smither sing the blues, I always feel like trying again.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At The Top Of His Game, Again! 10 Stars!! 23 Sep 2006
By Paul Bellefeuille - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Ever since I heard him talking about this cd on WUMB FolkRadio this past June, I have been anxiously awaiting this gem.You can feel his enthusiasm pour through every song. Even "Cold Trail Blues" the Peter Case tune with all of its darkness and as Chris said.."Man this is Really, Really dark..", has a feeling that he, Chris, has met the challenges of the character of the song and lived to tell the world. Steve Tilston suggested to Chris a while back that "Visions of Johanna" could be done in waltz time, so Chris does it in 6/8 time and brings incredible feeling and a fresh interpretation to Dylan's masterpiece, thus making this work of art his own. "Father's Day" pays tribute to his 94 year old dad.The last lines reveal much.."But I took all you gave or ever wanted to. "Ain't I done good" I needed that from you. All I got to say is, by the way, you done good too." One also has to consider that Chris is now a dad. He and his wife adopted a jewel of a child and now he plays the role of very proud papa. I know that I'm not the only one who has heard "John Hardy" and couldn't figure out what was being said. With Chris' interpretation by slowing down the tempo, one get's a full view of this mini opus.

The "John Hardy Reprise" comes shimmering in and leaves the listener reaching for something to keep off the chill.

Let's all hope that Signature Sounds keeps Chris in their stable of multi multi talented artists.

The Grammy Awards are awaiting you Chris.."you done good too."
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking Man's Blues 3 Nov 2006
By J. Patterson - Published on
Format:Audio CD
A master piece. This and his last albumn, "Train Home" represent a body of work most musicians could only dream of in a lifetime. To call Chris Smither a bluesman doesn't come close. Always known as a musician's musician, Smither combines his amazing skill on the acosutical guitar with his Dylan-esque mastery of the English language to take blues to another level altogether. But unlike Dylan, Smither does not use language impressionistically. This is a man with ideas, big ones, who leaves the listener with no doubt about where he stands on the issues he examines - what it means to be human and alive.

This guy is one of America's great lyricists. Consider this take on self-destructive behavior from "Seems so Real":

Up or down * Never mind the level * If down were up you coundn't get much higher* Working hard * Digging with a shovel * Trying to set your soul on fire* But it don't burn * These easy things are hard to learn

A bit beyond "my baby done left me", wouldn't you say? Or later in the same song when he tackles consciousness itself:

I mind my brain * Its real enough to shatter * Behind my eyes up between my ears * I think of mind * It's the ruler of the matter * But its nothing but the whinning of gears * It seems so real * But its nothing but the spinning of wheels

The albumn is full of gems like these. My only complaint and its a small one is that the albumn is a slightly under-produced. One has to strain a bit to hear the incredible musicians he has backing him up on most of these songs. I'm definately in the less is more when it comes to production but this is a bit too muted for my taste.

Buy this albumn though, you won't be disappointed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smither's Still Got It! 12 Jan 2007
By Eric J. Smith - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I used to catch Smither in small clubs in the early seventies but haven't kept up with him since. I purchased this CD on a whim and was not disappointed with the sprightly writing and was impressed by the strong muscianship. In particular, the title track as well as the Shillin' for the Blues cut are really good. Additionally, Origin of Species and Diplomacy contain some memorable lines. Then, he gives us a Dylan cover--Visions Of Johanna--in three-quarter time no less! Yeah, this one is definitely a keeper.
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