(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Blues-folk singer-songwriter Chris Smither brings his band, the Motivators, and his 50th anniversary tour to Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, November 14, at 9pm. Folk-rock singer-songwriter Milton opens the show.
Having distilled his own signature sound of blues and folk for 50 years, Smither is truly an American original. A profound songwriter and virtuoso guitarist, Smither continues to draw deeply from the blues, American folk music, modern poets and philosophers. From his early days as the New Orleans transplant on the Boston folk scene, through his wilderness years, to his reemergence in the 1990s as one of America’s most distinctive acoustic performers, Smither continues to hone his distinctive sound. His voice, in particular, is the very embodiment of the folk-blues sound. Opener Milton is a rootsy rock singer-songwriter in a similar vein.
As an indication of the reverence his peers accord to him, the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Dave Alvin, Patty Larkin, Josh Ritter, Peter Case, Tim O’Brien and others contributed tracks to “Link of Chain,” an all-star tribute album released this fall celebrating Chris Smither’s auspicious body of work. Additionally, famed New Orleans pianist/songwriter Allen Toussaint, members of the band Morphine, and fellow folk-Americana artists Loudon Wainwright, Kris Delmhorst and Rusty Belle added their touches to Smither’s latest album, “Still on the Levee,” a two-CD retrospective recorded in New Orleans, revisiting Smither’s musical history as well as adding to it with new compositions.
Smither has long been revered for both his guitar prowess and his way with a lyric, inspiring artists from Bonnie Raitt and John Mayall to Emmylou Harris and Diana Krall. He toured as one of the original Monsters of Folk with Dave Alvin, Tom Russell and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott in 1998, and continues to live up to the title with accolades such as Mojo magazine’s five-star review for his 2012 release, “Hundred Dollar Valentine”; his April 2014 appearances at the revered New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival earned him a spot on Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke’s Personal Top 10 list of best festival performances.
Smither credits Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins as the two bluesmen who most influenced him, and when he performs, their spirit is always in the room, but what comes out is pure Chris Smither. Smither’s band, the Motivators, includes multi-instrumentalist David ‘Goody’ Goodrich (Groovasaurus), drummer Billy Conway (Treat Her Right, Morphine), and mouth harpist Jimmy Fitting.
For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800.