Hear It First: Chris Smither, 'Call Me Lucky'

by Cindy Howes, Folk Alley

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Chris Smither's 18th album in his 50 plus year career finds him embracing his roots from Boston's rich music scene through his collaboration with some of its finest players. That includes his longtime producer, David "Goody" Goodrich, Matt Lorenz (the amazing one man band, aka The Suitcase Junket) and Billy Conway (Morphine). For 'Call Me Lucky,' Smither has worked up a two disc collection which features one disc of mainly originals and a couple covers; and a second disc of reworked/rearranged songs from disc one, plus a "surprise" cover.

Not only has Chris been known to be a favorite go-to songwriter for people like Bonnie Raitt, The Dixie Chicks, Diana Krall, John Mayall and others, he's also known far and wide for his astute song interpretations. Oftentimes, it'll be halfway through the song before the familiarity of the tune will hit. This time around is no different with Smither's covers becoming something completely of their own, especially his take on Chuck Berry's "Maybelline."

Recorded at Goody's Blue Rock Studio just outside Austin in the Texas Hill Country, it's clear the atmosphere was relaxed. Every player on the album wore different hats during the making of, with the drummer playing the guitar and the engineer jumping on keys. With 'Call Me Lucky' being his first new material in six years, it's clear he used that time to rest and reflect for this project. The highlight of the album, "The Blame's on Me," find Chris' delivery, from vocals to guitar, as if he were urgently conveying his message, but in the most laid back manner. It's truly a special talent of his that continues to make an impression.

In total, Smither's performance is energized and right at home, sounding like an inspired musician with still much left to do and say.

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'Call Me Lucky' will be released this Friday, March 2, on Signature Sounds Recordings and is available for pre-order now via iTunes, Amazon.com, or Bandcamp.


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