5000 presents CHRIS SMITHER, 29 February 2012

“Bathed in the flickering glow of passing headlights and neon bar signs, Chris Smither’s roots are as blue as they come. There is plenty of misty Louisiana and Lightnin’ Hopkins in Smither’s weathered singing and unhurried picking. So fine.” – Rolling Stone

“Back in the old days,” muses resilient troubadour Chris Smither, “writing new songs and making new albums were just chores. My priority was, and still is, performing live. I guess I still write the songs and make the records so that I can go out and play – except that now I actually look forward to it. I’ve learned how to do it, and I’m very eager to get stuff recorded once I’ve written it.”

“Smither is an American original, a product of the musical melting pot, and one of the absolute best singer-songwriters in the world.” – Associated Press

Recorded in only three days, ‘Time Stands Still’ is just the eleventh studio album of a career that now spans over four decades. Time Stands Still (Signature Sounds/Mighty Albert) is both pensive and visceral – an album whose songs alternately ponder life’s mysteries in some moments, and let them lie undisturbed in others. Featuring eight new original compositions and a song apiece from Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, and 1920s country-blues songster Frank Hutchison, Time Stands Still’s immediate, intimate sound is the direct result of one gig, and the challenge it presented.

“With a weary, well-traveled voice and a serenely intricate finger-picking style, Mr. Smither turns the blues into songs that accept hard-won lessons and try to make peace with fate.” – New York Times

“Writing songs is like exercising,” he explains. “There are certain muscles that have to get toned up. You work for a while, and eventually they get strong again. Eventually, once you’ve written five or six songs, songs number seven, eight, and nine come a lot quicker. You know what you’re doing. I learn a little bit more every time I write a new batch of songs. This is the most stripped-down record I’ve made in a long time.”

“Cast your mind back to the first time you heard Hank Williams, Big Bill Broonzy or JJ Cale and remember how good it felt. Think of the opening encounter with Leon Redbone or Leo Kottke. They say newcomers to Chris Smither’s brand of country blues-tinged southern folk experience those some emotions. It’s true.” – Maverick

The songs on ‘Time Stands Still’ are somehow both vivid and mysterious, evoking contemporary culture and circumstance while remaining touchingly timeless. Smither’s concerns – personal and political – are wed to music that, while stripped down in terms of arrangement and presentation, is among his most intricate, melodic, and challenging. The stark settings only serve to throw the album’s themes into higher relief. “I’m still talking about what I think of as nitty-gritty questions,”Smither says.  “Essential questions, existential questions.”

7.30 doors
8.15 Chris Smither (45)
9.20 Chris Smither (45)
£15 door

Cecil Sharp House
2 Regent’s Park Road
London NW1 7AY
Walking map from Camden Tube

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