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Sunday, October 13, 2024 | 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

San Miguel Mission


Santa Fe



“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.

The bluesmen of the Delta and the Appalachian mountaineers made timeless art with just voice, guitar, and a stomping foot. And that is the root of New Orleans native Chris Smither’s style: an insistent, understated groove featuring his trademark deft fingerpicking. The uninitiated, listening to Smither play live, might think two or even three musicians are pounding away. But it’s just one man,  guitar in hand, mic’d foot stomping, rumbling baritone voice sure and steady. A master of delicate, intricate finger-picked melodies, Smither is perhaps the most talented contemporary American artist to wed the muscular Mississippi Delta with the smokey Appalachians. For six decades, guitar-heads have been drawn to his blues-derived fretwork and the more poetic among us admire both the edginess and quirkiness of his lyrics.

Born in Miami during World War II, Smither grew up in New Orleans. The son of a Tulane professor, he was taught the rudiments of instrumentation by his uncle on his mother’s ukulele. “Uncle Howard,” Smither says, “showed me that if you knew three chords, you could play a lot of the songs you heard on the radio. And if you knew four chords, you could pretty much rule the world.” With that bit of knowledge under his belt, he was hooked. “I’d loved acoustic music – specifically the blues – ever since I first heard Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Blues In My Bottle album. I couldn’t believe the sound Hopkins got. At first I thought it was two guys playing guitar. My style, to a degree, came out of trying to imitate that sound I heard.”

In his early twenties, Smither turned his back on his anthropology studies and headed to Boston at the urging of legendary folk singer Eric von Schmidt. It was the mid-’60s and acoustic music thrived in the streets and coffeehouses there. Smither forged lifelong friendships with many musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, who went on to record several of his songs. What quickly evolved from his New Orleans and Cambridge musical experiences is his enduring, singular guitar sound – a beat-driven finger-picking, strongly influenced by the playing of Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins, layered over the ever-present backbeat of his rhythmic, tapping feet.

The typically superb All About the Bones, his 20th release, features eight Smither originals and renditions of Eliza Gilkyson’s “Calm Before the Storm” and Tom Petty’s “Time to Move On.”—all driven by Smither’s inimitable propulsive guitar and a carpetbag of instruments including Betty Soo’s diaphanous harmony vocals and the flat, mournful flood of Jazz legend Chris Cheek’s saxophone.

7:00 doors / 7:30 show / no opener


Sunday, October 13, 2024
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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San Miguel Mission
401 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87501 United States
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