Category: Chris Smither

(Re)Covered, XIII:
An interview and exclusive live tracks from Caroline Herring
plus live Chris Smither, and more of the year’s best tribute albums

November 15th, 2009 — 04:26 pm

Regular readers may recall that I first fell in love with the powerful, confessional Americana folk of Signature Sounds artist Caroline Herring after last year’s Lantana, a tour de force concept album of sorts which evoked a broad set of southern women’s voices struggling with their own claims to power and the lack thereof. As we wrote last month on the cusp of its release, Herring’s newest album, Golden Apples of the Sun, is a stunner, too, and I’m happy to report that it’s garnering the attention it deserves, climbing the Folk and Americana charts and finding placement on this year’s upcoming Oxford American Southern Music Sampler.

Last weekend I had a rare opportunity to sit down with Caroline before her opening set to a packed house at local folk-haunt the Iron Horse. Unsurprisingly, the Southern singer-songwriter was charming and articulate, both onstage and off; I appreciated the shout-out to Cover Lay Down during her set, and appreciate, as well, her willingness to share some thoughts on her own history and experience with coverage for the benefit of our readers.

Interestingly, as she noted at the outset of our interview, Caroline stayed away from covers for most of the last decade, having burned out on them early in her career in her work with Thacker Mountain Radio, a Southern music and literature radio show she helped found down in Oxford, Mississippi:

I used to do all covers, when I started playing with the Sincere Ramblers. We were the house band for a live audience radio show for two and a half years, and every week, we put out four new covertunes, and they were all of country blues, gospel, bluegrass, classic country…so we covered the canon. And so by the time I finished that, I was really tired of covers. I had learned a tremendous amount, but I just was so hungry to write my own songs and play my own songs and so I got in that habit.

But of course I know so many. And with this album, I first thought I would do an album of covers. And I was still not ready to do that. I don’t know why…I still have that Sincere Ramblers…that cover-mania was still with me…

The journey which brought her to include five songs originally penned and performed by others on her most recent release is deliberate and deep, as much a result of a pent-up sense of influence as it is a result of trying to craft a comprehensive vision in the studio. As Caroline describes it, under the guidance of producer and sideman David “Goody” Goodrich, she ended up with an album that seamlessly intertwines typically strong, poignant originals like The Dozens and Tales of the Islander with a series of songs reclaimed from her past and her culture.

In conversation, as in the music itself, it is obvious that the process by which Caroline has come to make songs her own, both lyrically and artistically, stems from to the way in which she connects her own artistic center with others – performers, producers, and songwriters alike. And listening to her music shows continued evolution of that process. Though the two covers on Lantana were recognizable from their first measures, here, Caroline doesn’t so much interpret songs as she does find her own voice in them, an approach which very often means a comprehensive reinvention of the familiar. Her LP selections – standards Long Black Veil and See See Rider, a resetting of the sixties folktune granted to Yeats poem Song of the Wandering Aengus, and startlingly transformative covers of both True Colors and Joni Mitchell’s Cactus Tree – are rewritten gems, with new tunes and tunings breathing new life and new intimacy into the texts. Here’s how that happens:

I had always loved the song of Wandering Aengus – Judy Collins’ version. I’ve listened to it for ten years, loved it. And I listened to her growing up. But I would play it, and sing it, and I thought “well, I wonder how other people do this.” And then lo and behold I listened to other people, and everybody has a different tune. And so I thought well, maybe I could do a different tune. And so I did. And then…that just spread.

And I’ve played Long Black Veil 500 times. You know, with a bluegrass band. And as a folk singer, perhaps it’s effective. But I loved playing with it. The song was definitely morose, but I played it very folkily. And in the studio, Goody – who was an integral part in the playing of this record – he played with it, and said “make it more urgent sounding”. And I got mad at him for saying it was urgent. And that was the take we took. And of course, he was right, and it was just wonderful, and I was just being diva-like…

As Caroline goes on to describe the way each covered song came to her, a two-part trend becomes clear: first, Caroline finds a song that she loves, and that speaks to her emotionally, and then, she rejects the melody and delivery of the versions she has heard from others in order to rebuild the songs as her own, whether in response to an inner desire or to the push of the producer and partner. In True Colors, which Goody brings to the table, she finds deep meaning in the sentiment of the song, but transforms the melody to make it a vehicle for her own sense of that sentiment. Similarly, Caroline describes feeling “standoffish from” blues, not feeling like she has a “right” to sing them, so although her version of See See Rider reflects both an appreciation of and a reverence for Ma Rainey and Big Bill Broonzy, she ends up remaking the song “in a way that [she] can sing it,” so that it has meaning for her.

In the end, it’s clear that, as Caroline herself notes, “I don’t seem to make an effective song if I’m not emotionally a part of it”. And this extraordinarily unusual, highly sensitive approach to coverage is consistent with her songwriting and performing process, too. Caroline’s originals show rare empathy, and the combination of intimately reforged familiarity and strong new songcraft is a great part of what makes Golden Apples of the Sun and its companion EP Silver Apples of the Moon – which also includes a few wonderful covers, most notably Kate Wolf’s Here in California, and a duet with Cary Hudson – such powerful works, universal and intimate all at once, worth buying from the source, and worth gifting as the holidays approach.

Here’s more from our evening with Caroline, in her own words and music: the full recorded interview, complete with chat about family and kidsong, and a few live tracks recorded by yours truly at the venue, on my trusty iPod voice recorder.

Bonus: Caroline’s new video for Tales of the Islander is now available at YouTube. Songs:illinois, who doesn’t usually post videos, says it “does justice to Caroline’s beautiful song as well as showing her beautifully serene and peaceful personality.” Having met her in person, I’d have to agree.

Caroline’s too-short set was followed by a rare treat: labelmate Chris Smither performing songs from his new album Time Stands Still with support from The Motivators (drummer Zak Trojano and guitarist David Goodrich, whose subtle strains also can be heard in the latter tracks from Caroline Herring above). Smither, who has recently moved into the area, only gets better with each passing year, his wry, gentle manner mellowing even deeper with age, and the band brought a fullness to his songs which was previously only available in studio recordings.

Unusually, Smither’s Saturday set was comprised of almost all new material, but he did offer this stunning cover of Dave Carter’s Crocodile Man. Though I’m still gathering in a few last tunes for an upcoming feature on Carter’s songbook, this bootleg track is just to good to hold back.

Finally, before you head off to buy your own copies of Golden Apples of the Sun, Silver Apples of the Moon, and Time Stands Still, a quick mention of three new and upcoming albums we missed in last week’s feature on recent Tribute Albums and Cover Compilations:

First, and most relevant to our recent foray into the world of folk tributes: a debt of thanks to delicate folkwatcher Slowcoustic and his own source the Common Folk Meadow blog for raising consciousness this week on The Wanderer, a new all-covers release from Berliner singer-songwriter Laurence Collyer performing as The Diamond Family Archive. The album, which features typically lo-fi bedroom covers of Sam Cooke, Eddie Cochrain, John Lee Hooker, and others, is comprised of quiet, often somber “acoustic landscapes”; in keeping with the organic sound and production value, the CD includes a handdrawn booklet, photographs, and “objects of affection”, and the whole thing comes across like a true collector’s item waiting to happen.

Slowcoustic has rehosted a wonderful free show from TDFA, just one of many available at label Woodland Archives, which includes the following live version of the title track from The Wanderer; the entire show includes some startlingly amazing covers, most notably absolutely mystical banjo-and-voice breakdowns of Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again and Islands in the Stream, and serves as a great introduction to the strong subtleties of Collyer’s work. Also included: two lovely late-night covers of Dire Straits classics, one from the covers album, the other from The Diamond Family Archive webpage. Gorgeous stuff, all ’round.

Second, this Harry Nilsson cover from Dawn Landes has been making the blogrounds, reminding both that a) we did a Nilsson feature way back when, and b) the pop-slash-indie-grown tribute album Songs from the Point!, while not folk, contains some delicate takes on Nilsson’s playful, poignant, well-crafted songs, the best of which come across as strong contenders for permanent earworms.

And finally, looking forward, the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street this week brought exciting news of an upcoming Muppets tribute album featuring the likes of Weezer, my Morning Jacket, and Andrew Bird. Like Songs From the Point, the upcoming tribute features several artists who claim folk music in their blood and musical origins; Andrew Bird, who will appear on each, recently released his torchy, francophilic take on Bein’ Green, and though it’s not clear if Joshua Radin’s version of the Sesame Street theme song, originally recorded for Scrubs, will make it to the 2010 album, it’s certainly in the same vein.

Cover Lay Down posts new features and songsets every Sunday and Wednesday, and the occasional otherday. We’re not known for brevity, but people seem to like what we’ve got to offer; if you do, too, please help support our mission by purchasing albums direct from the artists from the links above, and – if you’re up for it – perhaps consider donating a bit to help keep operating costs low.

983 comments » | (Re)Covered, Caroline Herring, Chris Smither, Dawn Landes

Covered in Folk: Randy Newman (Bonnie Raitt, The Duhks, J.J. Cale, Shelby Lynne, and 9 more!)

April 30th, 2008 — 01:49 am

Though my father hasn’t missed it in decades, I haven’t been able to attend the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival since I started teaching over a decade ago — something about the way a last gasp of hunker-down-and-teach takes over public education as we approach state testing, and the long downhill slide toward the end of the school year. But every year as we hit the last weekend in April my mind begins to muse upon the great acts I saw down there the few years I made it: Los Lobos, the Indigo Girls, Taj Mahal, Blues Traveler, the Neville Brothers, a holy host of Marsalis siblings, and many, many more.

What stands out strongest after all these years is the time I saw Randy Newman play a whole set of songs about rain in a downpour one year at Jazzfest. We were muddy football fields away from the stage, umbrella-less to boot, but what I remember best is the clarity of his set, just that wry warbly scratchy voice and a barroom piano style, over a substance chock full of extremely unreliable narrators and sarcasm, with a power that I had never really heard in his music before.

The scene was terrible; the view was worse. But Newman’s music got burned into my brain. And since then, though I haven’t made it to another performance, I’ve never passed up a chance to listen to his songs, no matter who is singing them.

Randy Newman’s original performances aren’t folk, quite — though as a set of produced music that, at its best, focuses and features the simple melodies and heartfelt, story-troped acoustic output of a songwriter and his stringed instrument, much of his songs share the qualities of both traditional folkways and modern singer-songwriter folk. That so many from the folkworld and beyond have managed to take his work and make it beautiful in their own way acknowledges this ground, it is true. But that the songs speak — as all good folk should — to a nation and a people and a heart all at once is both a testament to the inherent beauty in the songs themselves, and the inherent and universal beauty in the human condition, even at its most terrible and sodden and rained-upon, of which they speak so effectively.

Today, in honor of my tenth consecutive year missing Jazzfest, we bring you a predominantly southern-tinged set of Randy Newman coversongs. Though I could not resist a song or two from the lighter and less historically-relevant side of the Newman catalog, those younger folks who only know Newman from his recent work scoring Disney soundtracks may be pleasantly surprised to find that in his younger days, Newman was a gifted songwriter, known for his ability to expose the whole range of the human experience, from the poignant to the historical accurate to the absurd, rub it raw, and somehow manage to make it touching all the same. Sometimes, I guess, it takes a little rain to make you really understand.

Today’s bonus coversongs come with little fanfare after two megaposts in three days:

  • Randy Newman covers Harry Nilsson’s Remember
  • Randy Newman “covers” Every Man A King, bringing his trademark irony to lyrics originally by Huey P. Long just by singing them straight alongside his Good Old Boys

Randy Newman will play this year’s Jazzfest on Thursday evening. Can’t make it? Check out this related post @ Star Maker Machine: The Preservation Hall Jazz Band covers Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans

885 comments » | Bonnie Raitt, Chris Smither, Covered in Folk, JJ Cale, Mae Robertson, Marc Broussard, Martin Simpson, Peter Mulvey, Randy Newman, Shelby Lynne, The Duhks, Tim O'Brien

Carolina Coverfolk, Vol. 2: The Songs of Elizabeth Cotten

April 22nd, 2008 — 02:57 am

North Carolina is rich in history and broad in geography, stretching from warm beachfront majesty to the base of Appalachia. That it holds a dominant place in the history of folk music is due in part to its cultural diversity, and in part to its situation midway up the coast, along the route that folk strands might have once traveled from North to South and back again. This combination of factors has made it an influential locus and crossroads for several southern folk movements of the last century, including branches of the blues, appalachian music, and strains of bluegrass, and other early rural folk forms.

Rather than give the musicians and musical forms of this diverse region shorter shrift than they deserve, instead of our typical biweekly megaposts, this week we offer several shorter features on the coversongs of and from a few North Carolinan songwriters who made their mark on folk music long before the sixties transformed American folk from cultural phenomenon to a true genre. It is a tribute to their indelible influence and stellar songwriting that that these songs are still treasured in performance today.

Today, we begin our journey with the songs of Elizabeth Cotten (1896? – 1987; born Carrboro, North Carolina).

Like many early folk musicians born at the turn of the century, Elizabeth Cotten had two careers: one in her early years, as a self-taught blues folk prodigy, and one later in life, when the folk revival of the fifties and sixties drove a desperate effort to recover and record the authentic sounds of early American folk forms before they could be lost to the ages. Cotten’s story of rediscovery is especially notable for its serendipity: though a few of her songs had taken on a life of their own in the hands of other blues and folk musicians during the forties, Cotten herself had quit making music for twenty five years, only to be rediscovered in the sixties while working as a housekeeper for the Seeger family.

Cotten’s strong songwriting and original upside-down “Cotten picking” guitar style, with its signature banjo-like low-string drone and alternating fingerpicking bass, would eventually result in a star turn on seminal disks and collections from the Smithsonian Folkways label, many culled from home recordings made under the reel-to-reel direction of Mike Seeger in the nineteen fifties. The support of the Seegers and others, and the subsequent success of her first album, the 1957 release Folksongs and Instrumentals, brought her onto the folk circuit, where her unique sound influenced the burgeoning folk movement, and where her songs would be heard, recorded, and passed along by the likes of Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, and Peter, Paul and Mary.

In the end, though only four albums of her original material were ever released, Cotten remained a celebrated member of the folk touring scene into her late eighties, winning a Grammy in 1985 for Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording for Elizabeth Cotten Live! a year after being named a “living treasure” by the Smithsonian. Her music continues to be celebrated today for its timeless and distinctive qualities, and for the way it speaks to a childhood among the simple folkways of the rural North Carolina south. And her influence as a songwriter, a guitarist, and an artist echoes in the work of generations.

Today, a few covers each of two of Cotten’s most familiar songs: two fragile kidfolk versions of Freight Train, which was written when Cotten was eleven, and a full set of folkvariants on the timeless Shake Sugaree, from the hearty tones of folk blues legends Chris Smither and Taj Mahal to the delicate second-wave folk field recordings of indie newcomer Laura Gibson and the previously-featured grunge-folk goddess Mary Lou Lord.

As always, artist and album links above lead to the most authentic, the most honest, and the most local places to buy music: from the artists and labels themselves. The Elizabeth Cotten originals, especially, are core must-haves for any true tradfolk collector; pick up her three solo albums at Smithsonian Folkways.

Assuming the weather doesn’t keep knocking out the network, stay tuned throughout the week for a short half-feature on Bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs, and a piece on the work of Doc Watson, yet another North Carolina fingerpicker. Meanwhile, I’l be sitting on the back porch, local brew in hand, watching the sun set over the sound and the North Carolina mainland, while the wild deer and the goslings root for grub in the low grass below. Y’all come back now, y’hear?

[UPDATE 4/27: Great minds think alike: head on over to For The Sake of the Song for an almost-simultaneous post on Shake Sugaree that includes the seminal Fred Neil cover and the Elizabeth Cotten original!]

1,022 comments » | Chris Smither, David Grisman, Elizabeth Cotten, Elizabeth Mitchell, Jerry Garcia, Laura Gibson, Mary Lou Lord, Taj Mahal

Thankful Folk: A Thanksgiving Holiday Special

November 23rd, 2007 — 10:32 am

The web is full of Thanksgiving originals this week: Alice’s Restaurant, Loudon Wainwright III’s Thanksgiving, songs about helping others, the odd song about pie or turkey. Here at the Boyhowdy House, we’re feeling grateful for a few choice folk-tinged coversongs of thanks and blessing-counting that stand out in a small pond of hymns and secular songs just right for the season. Without further ado, here’s some particularily Thankful Folk.

  • Chris Smither, Thanks To You (orig. Jesse Winchester)
    The opening cut from previously featured Chris Smither’s powerful, well-produced Small Revelations, this cover just plain rocks, from the first bass growl (I know I’m a sinner/I ain’t no beginner) to the last sustained blues lick.

  • Erin McKeown, Thanks For The Boogie Ride (orig. Buck/Mitchell)
    This short, crisp boogie-woogie tune from diminuative-yet-powerful folkartist Erin McKeown comes from Sing You Sinners, her full album of old Tin Pan Alley tunes. You can hear her infectious grin throughout.

  • Dave Van Ronk, God Bless The Child (orig. Billie Holiday)
  • Eva Cassidy, God Bless The Child (orig. Billie Holiday)
    Two blues versions of this Holiday tune from two very different folk artists stolen from this world far too soon. Dave Van Ronk‘s slow, bluesy solo acoustic fingerpick and Eva Cassidy‘s electrified loungeclub blues swoon make the perfect counterpart. Off Your Basic Dave Van Ronk and American Tune, respectively.

  • Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, The Farmer Is The Man(orig. J. Carson)
    A mournful paean for the oft-invisibles who bring our table’s bounty and a gruff, loose-fiddled reminder to those who would forget. From Gambling Eden, which, like most of Arbo‘s work, is chock full of wonderful interpretations of old folk and gospel tunes. (Buy before 2008, get free shipping! And 10% of all profits go to Rock and Roll camp for girls!)

  • Sufjan Stevens, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (trad.)
    My absolute favorite hymn, ever since I heard Sufjan’s five-EP set Songs For Christmas last year. Our hymnal lists this song as a hymn of Thanksgiving, so there’s no need to wait a month to hear the beautifully torn banjo-jangle plainsong approach Sufjan brings to it.

As always here on Cover Lay Down, wherever possible, all artist/album links above go to that artist’s preferred purchase source. Help make some artist thankful — buy their music today!

Psst! Looking ahead towards our next holiday? I usually try to hold off on celebrating too early, but yesterday, on our way home from an authentic 1830s Thanksgiving feast, we passed a family cutting down trees and putting up reindeer, and it reminded me of a song lyric. So stay tight until Sunday for our first post of the 2007 holiday season: a Single Song Sunday feature on Joni Mitchell’s River.

958 comments » | Chris Smither, Dave Van Ronk, Erin McKeown, Eva Cassidy, Holiday Coverfolk, Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, Sufjan Stevens

(Re)Covered: More folk covers of Britney, Lou Reed, Chris Smither, Amazing Grace

November 9th, 2007 — 10:15 am

In order to maintain quality over quantity, this is our last regular Friday post here at Cover Lay Down; from now on, you’ll still get ten or more carefully vetted songs a week, but with a few notable exceptions (holidays, the occasional Folk Family Friday), posts will appear on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Today, for a “final” Friday post, we recover a few songs that dropped through the cracks just a little too late to make it into the posts where they belonged. Ladies and Gentlemen: our last regular Friday, our first (Re)Covered.

My Halloween post on Britney Spears folk-covers seems to have started a trend: if you haven’t already, head on over to Cover Freak and new blog Cover Me for a whole mess o’ popcovers from across the musical spectrum. Especially recommended for folkfans: Shawn Colvin‘s cover of Gnarls Barkley summersong Crazy, Matt Weddle’s reinterpretation of Outcast hit Hey Ya, the term “Pop Tart” to describe a certain type of female pop singer. Not recommended: Nickel Creek’s cover of Toxic, which I download and delete every few months — it was probably hilariously wonderful in concert, but the recording suffers from some abysmal recording quality.

But the popcover flood isn’t over yet: in addition to sparking a coverblog meme, my own post brought several direct submissions out of the ether. You’ll see a few of these in future posts; in the meantime, here’s a few of the best Britney Spears covers I received in the past few days:

  • Irish folkrocker Glen Hansard of the Frames covers Britney’s Everytime (Thanks, Rose!)
  • Another chilling version of Toxic from Dutch folkgoddess Stevie Ann, this one in-studio and sans sax (Thanks, the_red_shoes!)
  • More from Guuzbourg:
    • a light sweet version of Toxic from the Chapin Sisters
    • a Klezmer-esque Toxic from Global Kryner.

In other news, I also found a great “bonus” for last week’s Lou Reed folk coverpost while flipping through some old entries in retropsychadeliablog Garden of Delights. June Tabor and The Oyster Band’s 1990 version of Velvet Underground classic All Tomorrow’s Parties has strong ties to the traditional Irish/British countrysongs at the core of folk rock as first defined by Pentangle, Donovan, and Steeleye Span in the 1970s.

  • June Tabor and The Oyster Band, All Tomorrow’s Parties

After weeks of scouring local public libraries, I finally found Bonnie Raitt’s absolutely marvelous cover of Chris Smither‘s I Feel The Same and the produced version of his Love Me Like A Man on her 1990 retrospective The Bonnie Raitt Collection. I’ve loved this pair of covers ever since I was a kid; listening to them again brings me right back to the hardwood floor in front of my father’s stereo, carefully sliding records out of their sleeves. I posted a live version of the latter last week, but the produced versions are better.

  • Bonnie Raitt, I Feel The Same
  • Bonnie Raitt, Love Me Like A Man

Had I began researching this week’s post on folksong lullabies earlier, I would have discovered classicalfolk guitarist and composer John T. La Barbera‘s version of Who’s Goin’ To Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot in time to include it in my post on Amazing Grace and the folk/gospel tradition. They’re not the same song, but the music is almost identical; for the first half a minute, La Barbera’s soft, gorgeously lush instrumental could be either.

  • John La Barbera, Who’s Goin’ To Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot (trad.)

Finally, thanks to all who send, tout, and post music — keep those afterpost suggestions coming in, folks! And don’t forget to come back on Sunday for a very special ten-song feature on the folkier side of Beck!

798 comments » | (Re)Covered, Amazing Grace, Bonnie Raitt, Britney Spears, Chapin Systers, Chris Smither, Glen Hansard, Global Kryner, John La Barbera, June Tabor, Lou Reed, Oysterband, Stevie Ann

Chris Smither Covers: John Hiatt, The Grateful Dead, Little Feat, Chuck Berry, and Dylan

October 28th, 2007 — 10:32 am

I seriously considered Chris Smither for our Covered in Folk series. After all, for much of his forty-year career Smither was a total unknown outside a very small community…unless you happened to know who wrote Bonnie Raitt’s hit Love Me Like A Man. Smither has cred as a performer in his own right; he deserves to be touted for his own deceptively simple musicianship, not just his writing. The problem is, while his songs have been pretty consistently out in the open since he started out, his career path yaws like a ship in a storm.

Smither joined the Cambridge, MA folk scene in the late sixties, and hit the national radar in the early seventies with a spate of albums that showcased his emerging songwriting and raw, bluesy swamp folk style. But he faded into relative obscurity by the end of the decade, touring sporadically, releasing only one album in the eighties while his songs lived on in the hands of others. For a while, it looked like another promising musician had gotten lost.

But when Smither came back in 1991 with intimately recorded live album Another Way To Find You, it put him right back in the groove, winning awards and filling bars across the country. Since then, he’s been prolific and celebrated; today, where the Dixie Chicks still sell more Patty Griffin than Patty Griffin, Chris Smither has transcended life as “the guy who wrote that song” to become a headliner again, reemerging from the dark eighties to impress a new generation with his foot-stomping blues/folk guitar style, his throat-scratching Florida by way of New Orleans tenor drawl, and his interpretation of both his own well-crafted tunes and familiar standards from the folk canon.

At his best, Smither’s signature sound is a holdover from the days of Leadbelly, before blues and folk music split into distinct genres. Like those that came before him, he can play fast and loose with tempo, speeding through phrases on the guitar in raw emotive power. What distinguishes his style from the great grandaddies of interpretive fingerplucking is a preference for fastfinger slide over chord-playing, and a mellow, weathered grin all his own that shines through his lyrical play to flavor even the most wistful of folksongs.

The edgy, bluesy style Smither favors in performance is best featured on Another Way to Find You, in all its live, foot-stomping glory; his produced work shows an equally gifted ability to play the power of that wailing voice and sweet guitarplay off a full wash of sound. Here’s a full house of covers from his second wave of fame — a trio of solid tracks from Another Way, and a pair of more recent, more produced cuts — just to prove that you can rise again:

  • Friend of the Devil (orig. Grateful Dead)
  • Down in the Flood (orig. Bob Dylan)
  • Tulane (orig. Chuck Berry)
  • Rock and Roll Doctor (orig. Little Feat)
  • Real Fine Love (orig. John Hiatt)

Chris Smither sells all his in-print works, from 1984′s amazing It Ain’t Easy to last year’s solid Leave The Light On, through his website, so you know where he’d prefer you buy them. Unfortunately, if you’d like to go back to his work from before the resurrection, you’ll have to scour the used recordshops — but they’re well worth the vintage price, if you find one in good condition.

Today’s bonus coversongs are a full house, too:

  • Smoothjazz chanteuse Diana Krall covers Smither’s Love Me Like A Man
  • Bonnie Raitt covers Love Me Like A Man, too (live, from Road Tested)
  • Chris Smither’s original 1970 version of Love You Like A Man
    (our first NON-cover here on Cover Lay Down!)
  • Smither makes Roly Sally’s Killin’ the Blues his own
  • Shawn Colvin covers Smither’s version of Killing the Blues

1,106 comments » | Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Smither, Chuck Berry, Diana Krall, Grateful Dead, John Hiatt, Little Feat, originals, Shawn Colvin