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Chris Smither, Bonnie Raitt's "My Own Clapton" Performs in Sedona

By Mariah Fleming

Chris Smither

It's a rare treat when the man Bonnie Raitt calls "my Eric Clapton" performs in Arizona. Raitt is talking about the astonishing Chris Smither. Smither is one whose following is devout. If you've never heard Smither, you are missing one of the truly great singer songwriters of our time.

"Cast your mind back to the first time you heard Hank Williams, Big Bill Broonzy or JJ Cale and remember how good it felt. Think of the opening encounter with Leon Redbone or Leo Kottke. They say newcomers to Chris Smither’s brand of country blues-tinged southern folk experience those same emotions. It’s true." says the UK's MAVERICK.

Smither tours worldwide year round. His few appearances in Arizona are not to be missed. I've seen him many times and can't describe the experience any better than his reviews.

Just what does Chris Smither have that others in his genre lack? WIRED calls it genius. "The masterful combination of pure folk song writing and intricate guitar blues are tangible signs of the singer-songwriter’s vigorous genius. A megawatt solo performer." The BOSTON GLOBE hails him as "among the finest acoustic guitarists anywhere in American music." ROLLING STONE says: "Bathed in the flickering glow of passing headlights and neon bar signs, Smither’s roots are as blue as they come. There is plenty of misty Louisiana and Lightnin’ Hopkins in Smither’s weathered singing and unhurried picking. So fine."

If that isn't enough to convince you, take it from the NEW YORK TIMES when they say: "With a weary, well-traveled voice and a serenely intricate finger-picking style, Mr. Smither turns the blues into songs that accept hard-won lessons and try to make peace with fate."

Chris Smither on stage

The accolades are endless, and rightfully so. The AP calls him "an American original, a product of the musical melting pot, and one of the absolute best singer-songwriters in the world." NPR chimes in: "Smither taps his foot to keep the rhythm, much like the late blues legend John Lee Hooker. His finger-picked guitar lines are sleek, unhurried and insistent. And then there’s the voice - equal parts gravel and molasses." ACOUSTIC GUITAR says: "Smither is now at the peak of his creative powers."

It's not going out on a limb to say that Chris Smither is the greatest American blues poet, a master guitarist and an engaging performer. His performances are infused with dry wit, ingenious guitar, breathtaking vocals and utterly mind blowing originality.

Treat yourself to this performance. If you saw him at the Kerr Cultural Center in 2007 I'll lay odds you won't miss this. And it may be another four years before he gets back to Arizona. For more info go to: StudioLiveSedona.