GARDINER

Three projects mark songwriter Chris Smither’s 50 years in music: A double retrospective CD, a lyric book, and a tribute album featuring Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Josh Ritter, Dave Alvin, Tim O’Brien, Patty Larkin and others. Experience an evening with Chris Smiher at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at Johnson Hall in Gardiner.

An American original who was born in Miami but grew up in New Orleans, Smither’s music doesn’t bear the usual markers of the New Orleans sound. While he learned the basics in New Orleans, he found success in Boston’s mid-60s acoustic music scene. He writes literate, poignant, often haunted-sounding songs given a dark cast by his hushed delivery and deep baritone.

A profound songwriter, Chris Smither draws deeply from blues, American folk music, modern poets and philosophers. Smither has toured worldwide and has had concert dates with artists such as B.B King and Bonnie Raitt. There is no nonsense in Smither’s songs, just direct and heartfelt messages. Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote that Smither sings about “the big things — life, love, loss — in a penetrating and poetic yet unpretentious way.” His CD “Drive You Home Again” earned four-stars from Rolling Stone.

Blues-folk icon Chris Smither has long been revered for both his guitar prowess and his way with a lyric, inspiring artists from Bonnie Raitt and John Mayall to Emmylou Harris and Diana Krall. He toured as one of the original monsters of folk with Dave Alvin, Tom Russell and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott in 1998, and continues to live up to the title with accolades such as Mojo magazine’s five-star review for his 2012 release, “Hundred Dollar Valentine.” Smither still makes music and tours regularly. His April 2014 appearances at the revered New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival earned him a spot on Rolling Stone Senior Editor David Fricke’s Personal Top 10 list of best festival performances.

As Smither marked his 50th year of music-making in 2014, the New Orleansraised troubadour looked back at his career with “Still on the Levee,” a two-CD retrospective from Signature Sounds. He also released his full lyric collection as a book titled “Chris Smither Lyrics 1966-2012,” and in September, Signature Sounds saluted him with “Link of Chain,” a tribute album featuring contributions by Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Dave Alvin, Patty Larkin, Josh Ritter, Peter Case, Tim O’Brien and other friends and admirers from his beloved Boston music scene and beyond.

Johnson Hall is located at 280 Water St., Gardiner. Tickets to the show are $28 and are available by calling 582-7144.


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