- Chris Smither
Talk about an endorsement that makes you take notice: Bonnie Raitt called Chris Smither "My Eric Clapton." Grand praise indeed, and Smither's six-string finger-picking is certainly worthy of such hyperbole. But the 60-year-old troubadour from New Orleans is a fine artist in his own right, who has been in a groove since the early 1990s, following almost 30 years of dues-paying in the best country-blues tradition.
Smither is a disciple of rural-blues legend Mississippi John Hurt and the seminal Greenwich Village folkie Eric Von Schmidt; he sounds like Gordon Lightfoot's more world-weary brother. There's an eerie quality to Smither's deep voice, which adorns some articulate lyrics, both his and others'. His much-lauded 2003 CD Train Home includes deft covers of songs by Hurt (the classic "Candy Man"), Bob Dylan, Dave Carter, and Richie Furay. Smither also celebrates the release of Honeysuckle Dog, his erstwhile third album, which was recorded in 1973, but shelved until March of this year.