This 2-CD 25-song set is a unique retrospective: instead of reissuing previous recordings, roots singer, songwriter, and guitarist Chris Smither puts a fresh spin on songs from throughout his 50-year career. The sound is clean but unvarnished, revealing in detail Smither’s rough-hewn voice and nimble guitar work with an authentic country-blues feel. For this project he’s joined by a long list of guest artists. On some records such appearances create a distraction, but here everyone blends in nicely. Ex-Morphine member Dana Colley adds some spooky baritone sax to “Shillin’ for the Blues” and “Small Revelations,” and Allen Touissant deepens the N’awlins flavor of “Train Home” and “No Love Today.” Collaborations with Rusty Belle and the participation of other younger players confirm that this veteran roots player who was slow to receive the recognition he deserved made the right decision when, after a mid-career hiatus, he decided to return to music. In that sense he embodies the persona of many of his songs, who in spite of their struggles find a way to hold on. Play Still on the Levee when you want to hear from someone who seems battle-scarred but has kept his sense of purpose…and can play some sweet guitar.