chris smither

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Chris Smither: Time Stands Still (Shock)

Chris Smither: Time Stands Still (Shock)

As on his earlier Leave The Light On, this grizzled singer-songwriter now in his mid 60s, covers a Bob Dylan song, this time It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry. He also adds in Mark Knopfler's Madame Geneva's and that's a more useful reference, because Knopfler explores roots music -- but Smither lives it. His low grumble isn't...

John Hiatt: The Open Road (New West)

John Hiatt: The Open Road (New West)

For my money John Hiatt never sounds better than when he gets a rocking band behind and sounds a little venomous or angry. The back-porch Hiatt never much appealed to me -- so this, his 19th album, suits me just fine. With his tight little touring band and at age 57, he (mostly) writes about hitting the highway and some of the songs seem...

Ben Ottewell:Shapes and Shadows (Shock)

Ben Ottewell:Shapes and Shadows (Shock)

The name might not be familiar but from the first bar the voice certainly is. It belongs to that rusty balladeer in Gomez who here steps out with a classy, soulful solo debut of originals co-written with Sam Genders of the rather bent UK alt.folk outfit Tuung who have barely raised a ripple in this country. With a sound as distinctive...

John Hiatt: She Loves the Jerk (1983)

John Hiatt: She Loves the Jerk (1983)

Songs of spousal abuse or domestic violence are never going to be pretty or common, in fact on a countback the most outstanding one prior to this by Hiatt was probably the gloomy and dark He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss) written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King in the early Sixties. They'd heard from Little Eva (who'd had a chart hit with...

Chris Smither: Leave The Light On (Shock)

Chris Smither: Leave The Light On (Shock)

Smith is a grizzled-sounding roots-country singer whose spare songs glisten with his guitar playing, and whose baritone sounds whiskey-cured and filled with gravitas. He's no chicken (he's 62 and recorded his first album 33 years ago), but that only adds to his authentic, throaty country-blues which owes debts to Mississippi John Hurt, but...

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