Chris Smither (SOLD OUT)

Co-sponsored by Watermelon Wednesdays

Chris Smither (SOLD OUT)

Joan Shelley

Sat · April 7, 2018

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

The Shea Theater

$25/Adv, $30/Door

Off Sale

This event is all ages

Chris Smither
Chris Smither
CHRIS SMITHER. Songwriter. Guitarist. Performer. Bluesman.

CALL ME LUCKY is the new record from Chris Smither and is his first set of brand new originals in six years (release date: March 2018 on Signature Sounds/Mighty Albert). Recorded at the gorgeous Blue Rock Studio in the Texas foothills. Packed with Smither trademark songs that offer commentary on the human condition with a wink of an eye and pulls from deep in the soul and a couple of surprise covers that remind us of Chris' deftness as a song interpreter as he makes the songs his own. CALL ME LUCKY features longtime producer and multi-instrumentalist David Goodrich, drummer Billy Conway (Morphine), Matt Lorenz (aka The Suitcase Junket), Mike Meadows, and engineer Keith Gary. They went into the session to record ten songs. What they ended up with is a double record: Disc 1 features the eight originals and two covers they started with; Disc 2 catapults some of the very same songs into another dimension. Essentially Smither covering Smither.

Fans from around the world continue to fill concert halls, music clubs, and festivals ready for the Smither experience. Reviewers including those from the Associated Press, NPR, Mojo, and The New York Times agree that Smither remains a significant songwriter and an electrifying guitarist — an American original — as he draws deeply from folk and blues, modern poets and philosophers. And with CALL ME LUCKY he keeps doing just that.
Joan Shelley
Joan Shelley
The stunning, self-titled fourth album from the Kentucky singer, songwriter, and guitarist Joan Shelley began, surprisingly, with a fiddle.

In the summer of 2014, Shelley fell for “Hog of the Forsaken,” a bowed rollick at the end of Michael Hurley’s wayward folk circus, Long Journey, then nearly forty years old. Hurley’s voice, it seemed to Shelley, clung to the fiddle’s melody, dipping where it dipped and climbing where it climbed. This was a small, significant revelation, prompting the guitarist to trade temporarily six strings for four and, as she puts it, “try to play like Michael.” That is, she wanted to sing what she played, to play what she sang. She tried it, for a spell, with the fiddle.

“Turns out, I wasn’t very good at fiddle,” remembers Shelley, chuckling. “But I took that idea back to the guitar and tried that same method. I did it as a game to make these songs, a way to find another access point.”

But that wasn’t the end of the trials. After collaborating and touring with ace guitarist Nathan Salsburg for so many years, Shelley decided to put her entire guitar approach to the test, too. Each day, she would twist and turn into a different tuning, letting her fingers fumble along the strings until the start of a tune began to emerge. After playing the songs of her phenomenal third album, the acclaimed Over and Even, so many nights during so many shows, the trick pushed her hands out of her habits and into a short, productive span that yielded most of Joan Shelley.

It’s fitting that the set is self-titled. These are, after all, Shelley’s most assured and complete thoughts to date, with lyrics as subtle and sensitive as her peerless voice and a band that offers support through restraint and nuance. In eleven songs, this is the sound of Joan Shelley emerging as one of music’s most expressive emotional syndicates.

To get there, Shelley had a little more help than usual. In December 2016, she headed a few hours north to Chicago, where she and Salsburg joined Jeff Tweedy in Wilco’s Loft studio for five days. Spencer Tweedy, home from college, joined on drums, while James Elkington (a collaborator to both Tweedy and Salsburg) shifted between piano and resonator guitar. Jeff added electric accents and some bass, but mostly, he helped the band stay out of its own way. “He was protecting the songs. He was stopping us before we went too far.” she says.
Venue Information:
The Shea Theater
71 Avenue A
Turners Falls, MA, 01376
http://www.theshea.org