The Night Eagle Cafe
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200 State Street Binghamton, NY (607) 217-7334

Chris Smither


Great art looks simple.

Great music sounds easy - as inexorable and inevitable as the change of seasons or sunrise and sunset. The bluesmen on the Delta and the Appalachian mountaineers made timeless art with just voice, guitar and a stomping foot. And that is the root of the art of Chris Smither.

Over the last decade Smither has released one gem of an album after another. His music draws as deeply from the blues as it does from American folk music, modern poets and humanist philosophers. STEREO REVIEW: " Smither recasts the folk blues in the ethereal language of the poet, projecting a kind of streetwise mysticism."

Chris Smither's audience, which hails from all global regions, perfectly reflects the diversity of his sources. Guitar-heads are drawn to Smither's Lightnin' Hopkins/John Hurt derived fretwork; spiritual seekers nod in recognition at the hard-won knowledge casually tossed off in his lyrics. And just plain music fans who have come to Smither on their own - or have learned of his music from the multitude of artists covering his songs - return again and again.

This is deeply passionate American music, so deep and so passionate that it can be easy to underestimate. This music never shouts; it whispers. In a world dominated by cartoonish depictions of good and evil, where rebellion is a marketing concept and the natural world is merely a means to sell mass-produced consumables, to make music such as this is an act of supreme defiance and serene confidence.

Chris Smither has made outstanding music since he emigrated north from his native New Orleans as a teenager at the tail-end of the 1960's folk revival. At that time he sat at the feet of the masters, learning their techniques. Now, in the new century, Smither stands as a master on his own. Great art never apologizes for itself. Great art never follows trends. Chris Smither's music is great art.