“Bathed in the flickering glow of passing headlights and neon bar signs, Smither’s roots are as blue as they come. There is plenty of misty Louisiana and Lightnin’ Hopkins in Smither’s weathered singing and unhurried picking. So fine” – Rolling Stone
We are more than excited to be welcoming one of our musical heroes to the Traverse Theatre this January. Chris Smither is, without doubt, one of the best singer-songwriter-guitarists in the world right now.
Born in Miami, during World War II, Chris 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 says, “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 knowledge under his belt, he was hooked. “I’d loved acoustic music – specifically the blues – ever since I first heard Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Blues In My Bottle album. I couldn’t believe the sound Hopkins got. At first I thought it was two guys playing guitar. My style, to a degree, came out of trying to imitate that sound I heard.”
Giving up his studies to head to Boston at the urging of legendary folk singer Eric von Schmidt, he forged lifelong friendships with many musicians, including Bonnie Raitt who went on to record his songs, Love You Like A Man and I Feel the Same. (Their friendship has endured as their career paths intertwined over the years.) What quickly evolved from his New Orleans and Cambridge musical experiences is his enduring, singular guitar sound – 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 (always mic’d in performance).
Some 50 years of composing and performing later Smither has just released his 18th album, Call Me Lucky, and will hit Edinburgh on Wednesday 16 January. If you love live music we recommend that you are at Traverse One on that night. You won’t regret it for a second!
Tickets: £15 each
Date: Wednesday 16 January 2019
Doors open: 7.30pm | Music starts: 8pm
Location: Traverse One, Cambridge Street, Edinburgh