Time Stands StillAlbum |
His well-worn voice sounds like it’s rising straight up from the Louisiana swampland
As an artist, Chris Smither embodies the term "triple threat." Equally gifted as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, the New Orleans-bred Smither -- 65 when Time Stands Still came out -- has been plying his trade since his days on the '60s Cambridge, Massachusetts, folk/blues scene, so he's had plenty of time to sharpen his skills. His deep, bluesy, leather-and-burlap voice, Mississippi John Hurt-sideswipes-Richard Thompson fingerpicking mastery, and Dylan-influenced songwriting are as resonant as ever here on his 12th studio recording. Even though Smither is a master of complex wordplay, death-defying alliteration, and weapons-grade internal rhyme schemes, his delivery is so organic -- at times his well-worn voice sounds like it's rising straight up from the Louisiana swampland -- that his expert craftsmanship feels completely seamless. On "Surprise, Surprise," he's even able to tackle a timely topic like the late-'00s financial crisis and make it seem like it could just as easily be some obscure '30s blues tune he uncovered and dusted off for the new era. Time Stands Still is proof positive that some artists, far from losing their spark with age, really do keep getting better as they go along.