In his show at The Brokerage, Smither covered almost every cut on the new live record, which is comprised of old and new compositions. He ran through terrific, newly revised renditions of "Hold On I," "Link Of Chain," "Up On The Lowdown" and "Small Revelations"his masterful guitar work, signature grimaces and stomping boot heels very much in evidence. He was in command of his stage show, chatting with the audience, making wry asides and providing entertaining introductions to special songs like "No Love Today," a poignant and amusing autobiographical dirge about growing up in New Orleans. For many in the audience, including this writer, the high point of the show was his heart-wrenching performance of Rolly Sallys "Killin The Blues." Smither has adopted this great blues narrative as his own, turning out an emotive, dramatic performance that sent chills up the collective spines of the nearly sold-out house. His guitar playing was flawless the entire evening, and Smither proved beyond a doubt that he is one of the most original performers in the folk universe, and he is extremely pleased with the recognition he has so long deserved. If Chris Smither comes to your town any time soon, run, dont walk to grab up a ticket or two. Hes as brilliant as hell ever be!
Opening for Smither was local multi-tasking musician Ken "The Rocket" Korb, whose musical abilities extend to everything from a custom washboard to the electric mandolin. But Korbs true gift is his unique ability to blow blues harp with the best of themparticularly vintage bluesand Jay Reillys decision to have Korb open for Smither was a good one. Joining Korb on stage was Long Island blues guitarist Toby Walker who has come out of retirement to perform locally once again. He and Korb turned out a short set of terrific blues tunes. They were the perfect prelude to the wonders of Chris Smither. Ralph DiGennaro
If you are a fan of Chris Smither you may be interested in ordering Issue 12 which includes a feature interview with Smither by Ralph DiGennaro.