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Leave The Light On CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 Feb. 2015)
  • 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 (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,760 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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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.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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very pleased
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Rich Red Wine 5 Oct. 2006
By Lee Armstrong - Published on Amazon.com
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!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great album to get us through dark days 6 Nov. 2010
By Autonomeus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was underwhelmed by Train Home in 2003, so I missed this one when it came out. Going back now, inspired by seeing Chris live again after many years, I am happy to find that this is a great album, a quintessential slice of Smither that captures his various facets, the philosophical ("Seems So Real"), the humorous ("Origin of Species"), the political ("Diplomacy"), the Dylan covers ("Visions of Johanna"), the blues standards ("John Hardy," "Blues in the Bottle").

The title track sounds even better live, and still features in Chris's live shows of 2009 and 2010. "Origin of Species" is hilarious, and still brings down the house. It is one of his most clever and funniest lyrics ever:

"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 l**d, that's what I call intelligent design."

"Diplomacy" is a lesson in U.S. foreign policy:

"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'll get it anyway.
You want it, you'll get it, we got what you need --
you ain't got to sweat it, we gonna make you bleed."

I still think the best Smither studio album is Up on the Lowdown from 1995, but this one is excellent!

And don't miss Chris Smither live -- his records, no matter how good, can't compare with the live show!
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album from an all too overlooked performer. 6 Jan. 2013
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm new to Chris after seeing him live, solo. He is absolutely captivating live. There's not quite as much magic in the studio recordings but they are still great. The title track is especially nice because he's added very little to it save for some backing vocals which sound more at home with each successive listening. "Origin of Species" is one of my all time favorite lyrics. Bottom line is Chris is a wonderful songwriter and a great performer. If you ever get the opportunity to see him live, don't miss it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great album from Chris Smither 10 Nov. 2007
By R. Winston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Chria Smither has been turning out great CD's for several decades now, and his newest, "Leave the Light On", is no exception. The title track is a brilliant, upbeat, uptempo dirge (Chris has always been full of contradictions) that will speak directly to those members of the Woodstock generation who have recently become keenly aware of their age and its concomitant frailties. Though the rest of the album does not quite measure up to this one great song, it also does not disappoint with good, solid blues riffs abounding. Chris' two previous albums, "Train Home" and "Drive You Home Again", were also brilliant in their own way. This is top notch songwriting and playing by a master who's still at the top of his game.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent craftsman 3 Aug. 2007
By Stephanie Unger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I discovered Chris Smither on a recent trip to Boston (they were playing one of his CDs at Baja Betty's in Brookline), and I ordered this CD when I got home.

It doesn't disappoint!! Chris Smither is an excellent craftsman, with lyrics and music reminiscent of Guy Clark and all those others you probably already know and love.

But even though he may remind you of another artist or artists at first listen, he stands on his own. With each subsequent listen, you pick up the subtleties in his music that make him unique, and you enjoy it even more.

Chris Smith is our new favorite musical find. We're stocking our library with his albums.
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