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Leave the Light On by Chris Smither
Released: Sep 2006
Label: Signature Sounds
If you're familiar with folk veteran Chris Smither, you know that he's a "lifer." Fitting, then, that his 12th album should touch on subjects like mortality, as well as regret, survival, protest and pain. Smither's desolate and delicately picked cover of Peter Case's "Cold Trail Blues" surpasses the original as it swells Ry Cooder-styled, Spanish-tinged folk blues next to fragile harmonies and sublime pump-organ drones that float like a whisper. The bouncy parlor piano on "Diplomacy" nicely contrasts the bite of Smither's contempt for iPods, Christianity and the George W. Bush administration.
Eric Shea

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