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Chris Smither
TRAIN HOME
BY NICK A. ZAINO III
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Chris Smither has done a lot of traveling on his way from New Orleans to Arlington, where he currently lives. His first stop was the folk revival in Greenwich Village in the í60s, and heís mixed folk, blues, and rock ever since. Train Home is a fine document of those travels, including four covers and several outstanding original tunes. Smither follows some of his favorite muses, covering Bob Dylanís "Desolation Row," Mississippi John Hurtís "Candy Man," and Dave Carterís "Crocodile Man." His light touch saves "Candy Man" from its heavy-handed double entendre and makes originals like "Lola" and "Let It Go" a joy to listen to. Like those of Tom Waits, Smitherís throwaway lines are sometimes better than the prose most songwriters pore over. Producer Dave "Goody" Goodrich, best known for his work with Peter Mulvey, also does well not to clutter the mix, letting Smither, his stomping foot, and his acoustic guitar do most of the work. Smither doesnít need much help to show his range: heís sometimes contemplative, usually positive, and the dexterous fretwork holds it all together.


Issue Date: October 3 - 9, 2003
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