LINK OF CHAIN: A SONGWRITERS TRIBUTE TO CHRIS SMITHER
IS ALL-STAR CELEBRATION OF SINGER-SONGWRITER’S
70th BIRTHDAY AND 50th ANNIVERSARY OF SONGWRITING
Featured artists include Bonnie Raitt, Dave Alvin, Loudon Wainwright III, Mary Gauthier, Josh Ritter, Eilen Jewell, Peter Case, Tim O’Brien, Jorma Kaukonen, Aoife O’Donovan & Stephanie Coleman, and Patty Larkin
In celebration of Chris Smither’s 70th birthday, Signature Sounds will release Link of Chain: A Songwriters Tribute to Chris Smither on September 30 2014.
The album features friends and peers like Loudon Wainwright III, Bonnie Raitt, and Dave Alvin performing gems plucked from Smither’s deep catalog. Music fans know that Chris Smither has written a countless number of masterful songs during his 50-year career, but hearing this eclectic set of interpretations will be a startling reminder of the depth of Smither’s catalogue.
Signature Sounds owner Jim Olsen, who got the idea at a 60th birthday tribute to Smither at Boston’s fabled Club Passim, produced the compilation. “People were covering Chris’s songs and everyone’s interpretations were very different. You can’t really cover him straight because so few people can play like him and do that thing. It made you hear the songs in such a new way. I thought, ‘This guy needs a tribute album.’”
“That thing” Olsen refers to is Smither’s powerful combination of rippling, finger-picked blues and philosophical poetry. “Musically, he’s Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mississippi John Hurt and lyrically he’s Leonard Cohen,” says Olsen.
Smither’s recently released career retrospective double album Still on the Levee, marks 50 years of songwriting and performing. Smither reconnected with his New Orleans roots, recording at the Music Shed, where guests like Allen Toussaint stopped by. Noted The Boston Globe:
“Chris Smither is at an age where his legacy looms larger than ever . . . “Still on the Levee frames [him] as what he always has been: a timeless singer and songwriter.” And The Bluegrass Situation raved, “Stunning music. Great performances. Awesome songwriting. Great packaging. That should adequately describe the brilliance of this record.”
Many first took notice of Chris Smither in the early ’70s when Bonnie Raitt started covering his songs, making “Love You Like a Man” a staple of her repertoire and famously calling Smither “my Eric Clapton.” For this tribute album Raitt contributes a passionate live version of that tune, which she introduces by calling Smither “one of my favorite artists.” “I Feel the Same,” another song previously covered by Raitt, is devastatingly sung by Mary Gauthier.
1. Dave Alvin “Link of Chain”
2. Loudon Wainwright III “A Place in Line”
3. Mary Gauthier “I Feel the Same”
4. Josh Ritter “Rosalie”
5. Paul Cebar “No Love Today”
6. Eilen Jewell “Can’t Shake These Blues”
7. Jorma Kaukonen “Leave the Light On”
8. Aoife O’Donovan with Stephanie Coleman “Small Revelations”
9. Tim O’Brien “Origin of Species”
10. Bonnie Raitt “Love Me Like a Man” (live)
11. Peter Mulvey “Time To Spend”
12. Mark Erelli & Jeffrey Foucault “Song for Susan”
13. Heather Maloney “Call Yourself”
14. Peter Case “Caveman”
15. Patty Larkin “Train Home”
Chris Smither is performing at Americanafest 2014
Music City Roots Thursday September 18 7pm