Music fans have come to Smither on their own - or have learned of his music from the multitude of artists covering his songs. Visit his website at www.chrissmither.com.
Some artists continually reinvent themselves; others identify their muse early on and spend their careers single-mindedly pursuing it, remaining recognizably themselves through a career-long process of refinement, growth and discovery. Chris Smither belongs to the latter group. Leave the Light On, Smither's masterful twelfth albumthe first he's released on his own Mighty Albert labelstands as the quintessence of his life's work while throwing in some new wrinkles that reflect where he's been and what he's encountered since the last time around. But Smither's central theme as he enters his 60s is clearer than ever.
"The last three or four records I've done are mostly talking about the big questionslife, death, love and not loveand where the whole thing's going," he says. This new "fistful of tunes," as he calls it, finds Smither once again in a contemplative mood, examining his thought processes on "Open Up," struggling to distinguish between self-deception and truth on "Seems So Real" and seeking the most fundamental kind of closure on "Father's Day." No, Leave the Light On is not a party record.
"Since I started recording again around 20 years ago [22, actually], I've been writing about the same sorts of things; it's just about my own growing perception of it, and how clear can I make it?" Smither explains. "I guess I'm making it clearer, because people don't often ask me what the songs are about anymore. It's a process of engagement. When you write a song, you've got three or four minutes to get a-hold of somebody, and if they can remember one phrase or line when they walk away from it, you've won. And I think I've accomplished that."
Arden Gild Hall
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