Chris Smither Returns to “Lonely Time” 50 Years Later, Readies 18th Album ‘More From the Levee’

Sometimes songs comes back to you after some time. For Chris Smither, “Lonely Time” resurfaced nearly 50 years after he initially wrote it. The bluesy, lovelorn tale, which Smither originally recorded on his 1970 debut, I’m a Stranger Too! is just one piece of his upcoming, 18th album More From the Levee (Sept. 26), which features 24 tracks—10 of which Smither initially cut from the Still On the Levee sessions nearly 20 years ago.

Essentially, More From the Levee, is Smither’s second volume to 2014’s Still On the Levee, a collection of narratives seeped in Smither’s deep soulful folk, and acoustic blues-led retrospective fragments of life.

Produced by David Goodrich and recorded at New Orleans’ Music Shed, More From the Levee is a continuation of what Smither’s started in his Levee series, self-reflective storytelling spanning his 50-year career, including a new track, “What I Do,” a nod to his earlier years in New Orleans. Featuring unreleased tracks from the 2013 Still on the Levee sessions in New Orleans, Smither also tapped the late Allen Toussaint, drummer Billy Conway (Morphine, Treat Her Right), and Loudon Wainwright III for More on the Levee.

“Returning to these tracks was like finding a roll of film (remember that?) from a legendary vacation,” says Goodrich. “You know you had a great time, but you’re not sure what you’re going to find captured there… What we found was another irreducible collection of Chris Smither songs full of great performances, intimate and immediate.”

He adds, “Members of Morphine, the Motivators and the late Allen Toussaint help make this a truly special recording, a snapshot of some powerful music-making. I’m so pleased to share more of our vacation.”

On “Lonely Time,” Smither revisits a love song that resonated for the artist 50 years ago, as it does now. The bluesy track tapping into the root of his story on Tell me I can live without you / Tell me let the good times roll / Tell me I can live as half a man / Loving you is what made me whole. 

“I think this might be the first positive relationship song I ever wrote and written as a young man at that,” says Smither. “Prior to this one, I don’t think I believed such a song could be done, so I never tried.”

Smither, now 75, is based in Amherst, MA, but has lived all around the world. Every person, place, and experience is extracted on this platform that started with Still On the Levee and continues to unravel through More From the Levee.  

“Revisiting Lonely Time in the studio in New Orleans decades later with my good friend Billy Conway,” says Smither, “I think it still holds up despite the roads taken in life.”

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