Chris Smither is the perfect example of an artist who, from my vantage point, was a total nobody one day and a mega-star the next. I don't mean mega-star like Bruce Springsteen or the Stones. I mean mega-star like someone who I could simply not resist seeing again and again. And every time I went, I dragged a few reluctant friends with me, only to witness their own instant transformation into believers.
McCabe's is the perfect venue to see Chris. He always sells out there, and typically I'm among the first in line. Sitting in the front row gives me the complete experience, as I can watch his amazing finger-work and at the same time see his feet providing the drum beat on a miked-up piece of plywood. I was less lucky in November 2003 at the Throop Memorial Church in Pasadena, where I could not secure a front row seat.
|Throop Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church, Pasadena, California|
Chris Smither's gig at McCabe's on March 14, 2003, is available in its entirety, including all the chatter in-between songs, as a digital download from Amazon, Emusic and possibly other sites as well. Here's the set list:
Dust My Broom
Get a Better One
No Love Today
Let It Go
Can't Shake These Blues
Drive You Home Again
Love You Like a Man
Never Needed It More
Killing the Blues
Hey, Hey, Hey
Duncan and Brady
I'm yet to overdose on Chris Smither. His shows are funny, engaging, and most of all, musically superior. He writes most of the songs he sings and never forgets to credit the author when he covers somebody else's work. In my opinion, Chris' strength is his guitar playing, which is nothing short of stunning. Others may argue that songwriting is his forte, and their point would be hard to refute.
As I write this, Chris Smither is almost 67 years old, a good reason for you to catch his live shows in your area, if you're fortunate enough to have him come to a venue near you.