Chris Smither always manages to sound real on his records. Like he's living the songs he sings every day. In a sense, that's exactly what the 50-year-old acoustic bluesman is doing—living the very truths he sets to music. Smither's childhood wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't stable either. His parents, both university professors, moved the family from Miami to Ecuador to Texas to New Orleans to Paris back to New Orleans, all by the time Smither was 13 years old and already fascinated by music.
He spent the early '70s in Boston and in the company of good friends Bonnie Raitt and Dr. John, both of whom appear on his early albums. A boozy descent soon followed, and Smither didn't re-emerge as a recording artist again until the late '80s. But when he did, he was a smorgasbord of sound and lyrical power to be reckoned with. Smither's blues continue to be visceral, heart-wrenching and oddly rocking for an acoustic guitar player (think early-to-mid-career Lightnin' Hopkins). Smither sounds real because he's lived his music. And traditional acoustic blues continues to live through him.