chris smith | Bradford District Activities Guide


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Born in Miami during World War II, Chris Smither grew up in New Orleans where he started playing music as a child. The son of a Tulane University professor, he learned the basics of instrumentation from 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 little bit of knowledge under his belt, he was hooked. “I’ve loved acoustic music – especially the blues – ever since I first heard Lightnin’ Hopkins’ album Blues In My Bottle. I couldn’t believe the sound Hopkins had. At first I thought it was two guys playing guitar. My style, to some extent, came from trying to emulate that sound I heard. In his early twenties, Smither turned his back on his anthropology studies and traveled to Boston at the behest of legendary folk singer Eric von Schmidt. It was the mid-60s and acoustic music was thriving in the streets and cafes there. Smither formed lasting friendships with many musicians, including Bonnie Raitt who later recorded her songs, ‘Love You Like A Man’ and ‘I Feel the Same’. (Their friendship endured as their career paths intertwined over the years.) What quickly evolved from his musical experiences in New Orleans and Cambridge was his singular and enduring guitar sound. – rhythm-based fingerplay, heavily influenced by the playing of Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins, layered with the ever-present rhythm of his rhythmic, tapping feet (always on the mic during performance). ‘Bathed in the flickering glow of passing headlights and neon bar signs, Smither’s roots are as blue as they come. There’s plenty of misty Louisiana and Lightnin’ Hopkins in Smither’s weathered vocals and unhurried picking. Very well. – Rolling Stone’ Hundred Dollar Valentine is a thing of profound beauty; deep, sad and wise songs, combined with perfectly crafted arrangements, from a man who has lived long enough in darkness to approach big and heavy questions with a lightness of touch. – Mojo “It’s that rhythmic push-and-pull, that New Orleans sensibility that made Smither stand out.” – Oxford American ‘With a tired, well-traveled voice and a complex, serene fingering style, Mr. Smither transforms the blues into songs that accept hard-earned lessons and attempt to make peace with fate.’ – New York Times

Opening hours / Details:

6:30 p.m.

Location details

The Living Room, Saltaire

47 Clifton Square


BD18 2AB

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