Paste Studio - Jan 21, 2021
Daytrotter Session - Aug 28, 2013
Leaving New Orleans to immerse himself in the thriving folk and blues scene around Cambridge, Massachusetts in the late-1960s, Chris Smither soon proved himself to be an eloquent songwriter, masterful guitarist, and a gifted singer, with a rich, emotionally charged voice. With a songwriting maturity and depth that belied his young age, Smither caught the attention of Cambridge blues promoter and manager, Dick Waterman, an important figure in the blues revival of the 1960s. By 1969, Smither had moved to Garfield Street in Cambridge and regularly visited Waterman's home, where many blues legends of the era were known to assemble. (It was there that Smither first performed his song "Love You Like A Man" for Waterman's friend, Bonnie Raitt.) That same summer, Smither appeared at the high profile Philadelphia Folk Festival and began work on his debut album. Just entering his mid-twenties at the time he released his 1970 debut,
I'm A Stranger, Too
, Smither was already writing songs with the insight and eloquence of some of the period's best singer/songwriters, but with a distinctly original sound that reflected his Louisiana roots.
I'm a Stranger, Too
was well received, as was the follow-up,
Don't It Drag On
, and Smither was poised for major success and recognition. However, it was not meant to be. Shortly after being signed to United Artists and recording his third album, the label was purchased and put out of business, resulting in the cancellation of Smither's 1973 album,
. This lost gem would eventually be issued in 2005, nearly 32 years later, but this bad luck, combined with a major tragedy in his personal life, sent Smither on a long cycle of depression. Although he remained a fixture on the New England folk club scene, he didn't release another record for more than a decade.