VA – Link Of Chain: A Songwriters Tribute To Chris Smither (2014)

Artist: Various Artists
Title: Link Of Chain: A Songwriters Tribute To Chris Smither
Year Of Release: 2014
Label: Signature Sounds
Genre: Blues/Folk
Quality: MP3 320 Kbps
Total Time: 59:34
Total Size: 145 MB

1 Dave Alvin – Link Of Chain (3:55)
2 Loudon Wainwright III – A Place In Line (3:14)
3 Mary Gauthier – I Feel The Same (4:16)
4 Josh Ritter – Rosalie (4:09)
5 Paul Cebar – No Love Today (4:47)
6 Eilen Jewell – Can’t Shake These Blues (4:04)
7 Jorma Kaukonen – Leave The Light On (3:34)
8 Aoife O’Donovan & Stephanie Coleman – Small Revelations (3:39)
9 Tim O’Brien – Origin Of Species (2:55)
10 Bonnie Raitt – Love Me Like A Man (Live) (4:32)
11 Peter Mulvey – Time To Spend (3:03)
12 Mark Erelli & Jeffrey Foucault – Song For Susan (4:36)
13 Heather Maloney – Call Yourself (3:41)
14 Peter Case – Caveman (4:38)
15 Patty Larkin – Train Home (4:26)

Chris Smither is a subtle laid-back performer who writes great, subtle laid-back songs that over the years seem to have been liked by many other performers – as early as 1972 Bonnie Raitt covered his song "Love me like a man" on her ‘Give it up’ LP. This record sees 15 artists covering Chris Smither songs, most take Smither’s own laid-back semi-acoustic approach to the songs but others go a different route – Tim O’Brien turns "Origins of the species" into a New Orleans jazz workout and Paul Cebar and his band give "No love today" a more modern New Orleans R&B makeover, Aoife O’Donavon and Stephanie Coleman completely reimagine "Small revelations" as a Celtic ballad, while long-time Smither friend Peter Mulvey makes "Time to spend" into a Western Swing two-step! Mary Gauthier sounds like Lucinda Williams on her version of "I feel the same" and I loved Mark Erelli and Jeffery Foucault’s harmonising on "Song for Susan", while Dave Alvin turns in an electric version of the title track with nice slide guitar, more nice guitar from Jorma Kaukonen on "Leave the light on". I particularly liked Eileen Jewell’s version of "Can’t shake these blues" and also Patty Larkin’s "Train home" – surprisingly both artists turn in brooding, bluesy versions much darker than Chris’s originals.
There isn’t a bad track here, everyone manages to evoke the spirit of Mr. Smither while putting their own personal spin on the songs – which for me is exactly what successful tribute records should be doing. Bonnie Raitt is also included with a great live version of "Love me like a man", complete with Chris Smither name check in the introduction – nice one

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