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Live As I'll Ever Be Live

4.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, July 18, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

The accomplished Smither, after 30-odd years of performing and recording, has carved out a distinctive musicality and a close relationship with his audience. This live record makes letter-perfect use of both attributes. A far cry from 1999's excellent but instrumentally diverse Drive You Home Again, this is a spare, intimate recording featuring just guitar and voice. But what a guitar, and oh, what a voice. Gravelly, light, and tuneful, with a plaintive nasal pinch that bleeds wisdom and salvation, he rhymes his storylike lyrics around effortless guitar twangs and a simple tap meter, entertaining very lucky and appreciative live audiences with guile and an astute sense of observation. Songs like "Cave Man," from 1997's Small Revelations, find an easy soulfulness in their unadorned settings, and show off just how skilled Smither's songwriting has become. Other tunes leave an endearing impression of hopeful whimsy, as tracks like "Winsome Smile" trace a lover's almost pathological grip on his precious melancholy. Smither's deserved popularity has landed him in larger and larger venues for the last several years, but this disc reveals the musician's heart is still grounded in those intimate coffeehouses, bars, and sidewalk cafés, where acoustic songcraft has always flourished. --Matthew Cooke

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Intro
  2. Hold On I
  3. The Devil's Real
  4. Link Of Chain
  5. No Love Today Intro
  6. No Love Today
  7. Cave Man
  8. Winsome Smile
  9. Slow Surprise
  10. Help Me Now
  11. Small Revelations
  12. Can't Shake These Blues
  13. Dust My Broom
  14. I Am The Ride
  15. Up On The Lowdown
  16. Killin' The Blues

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 18, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: July 18, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Hightone Records
  • ASIN: B00004U02M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,699 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Chris Smither Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Chris Smither live is amazing. Just one guy with an acoustic guitar, apparently. But the way he plays that guitar! Over many years he has honed a truly accomplished folk-blues style that has more density than many bands I've heard. Plus, you notice that board under his feet? He pounds out a rhythm with both feet, adding drums! Of course his songwriting is up there with the best, and his singing is intense and affecting. And funny? He had the crowd cracking up between songs just about every time when I heard/saw him at Utah State in Logan last fall.

This album is the next best thing to Smither live. It also brings together a great sample of his recent work, pointing the listener to his series of Nineties Hightone albums (my favorite is UP ON THE LOWDOWN -- see my review -- and HAPPIER BLUE is marred by synthesizers). What do you miss from his live show? The stories, for one. You get one, just a taste, the story of the New Orleans produce man. You also miss some of his great covers -- Lowell George's "Rock and Roll Doctor," and John Hiatt's "Memphis in the Meantime."

So check out this awesome live album, and go see/hear him live the next time he's within 100 miles of you!
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Format: Audio CD
You really haven't heard Chris Smither until you've heard him live. He's simply an amazing artist, and one of the best solo acts performing today. The best way to describe his music is it pretty much straddles the fence between folk and blues. All done with acoustic guitars and his two tapping feet he uses as a rhythm section. Believe me when I say, this is all this guy needs. He is a full sounding one man band. Some of my favorite songs off this album are the bluesy "LINK OF CHAIN" and "CAN'T SHAKE THESE BLUES", along with "UP ON THE LOWDOWN", and one of his best songs "I AM THE RIDE". All these songs come from his studio album "UP ON THE LOWDOWN", which I'm partial to because he had a cd release party for this album the night he came through Oklahoma City back in 1995. I got to hear all these songs for the first time in a live setting, which made it that much more special. There was a lot of electricity in the air that night, and that was a concert I will not soon forget. Smither came through the city again in 1996 for the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Concert. Although it was a sad ocassion, when Chris Smither came on that big stage with just him and his guitar, he played the most inspirational set of any of the big name acts that appeared that night. And it made everybody who walked out of the Civic Center Music Hall that night, feeling a little bit better about everything. Everyone should get to see Chris Smither live at least once in their lives. In the meantime, I highly recommend getting this new "live" cd. This guy is a great songwriter, and there isn't a bad tune on here. And it's the next best thing to seeing him live.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been a fan of Chris Smither since his 1972 "Don't It Drag On" LP. When he blasted "Statesboro Blues" and "Friend of the Devil," it was like having an old friend I never met in my living room. I went back and picked up his "I'm A Stranger Too" from 1970, then he disappeared as a recording artist until 1984 with "It Ain't Easy." These were albums to which I continually returned. If I understand correctly, he was battling his own personal devils with alcoholism. Then he returned in 1991 with his live CD "Another Way to Find You" that covered his recordings to that point. Throughout the 90's he consistently put out excellent CDs, followed recently by the classic "Train Home" that came out this year. "Live As I'll Ever Be" was my #1 CD for the year 2000 on my "Class of 2000" list here on Amazon, but I never reviewed it. I also had never seen Chris live, until last Friday night in Chapel Hill. Chris is the quintessential live performer.
What comes across so amazingly live is the great humor in his songs. When he sings, "Seems so dumb to get so excited," on "Can't Shake These Blues," it's not that it's a comedy song, but just that you get the humor of his great spirit. His facial expressions contort to often express a humble self-effacing guy with wry wit. On Friday he related singing at prison where the inmates were a little wary of him at first. Then after a couple of songs "they figured I just hadn't been caught yet."
This disc is a great representation of his live show. All of the songs on this disc are so strong that it's hard to pick highlights. "Hold On" is a great opener. When he did "The Devil's Real," he said his friends showed up at his concert worried that he'd gotten religion. He assured then he hadn't; and they all left.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard Chris Smither in concert in Boston's Symphony Hall in '73 when he opened for Doc Watson. Brash and talented and shaking his long blond hair with rock star panache. I think Bonnie Raitt had just recorded Chris' "Love You Like A Man". Been a fan ever since, have all the old LPs.
I saw Chris 2 years ago in a small venue in South Carolina. The long blond hair has turned dark, and the cockiness has given way to quiet confidence.The audience was small, but it didn't faze him, and I heard one of the best shows of my life. He comes across as being humble and appreciative of his fans. The writing wears the badge of life's experiences, good and bad. It's lean, tough, wry, and descriptive. He is an awesome talent in his guitar playing, writing, and singing. My favorite cuts are "No Love Today", and "Small Revelations". The latter has the lyric "Hearing is letting it happen, but to listen's a work of will/Beware of cheap imitations/ Thankful for small revelations". I'm a songwriter - and I would kill for a line like that.
There is not a bad song on the CD, and it's worth the price just to hear Chris do the intro to "No Love Today". I spend a lot of time in my car, and "Live As I'll Ever Be" has been in rotation for at least 8 months. You just don't get tired of it. If I could just figure out how he's playing Small Revelations....
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