MUSIC NEWS | ALBUM REVIEW 4/5

with ‘Hummingbird’ John manages to confirm his position as one of this generation’s most important folk singers. 

what is most striking from start to finished throughout the album is John’s impeccable guitar work. None more is this evident than on the albums unquestionable highlight ‘Axe Mountain’. A powerful tale of savage revenge, the song takes us on a journey through a small town amid deep wells of trauma and hypocrisy. It has fast become a staple of John’s live show, and one he has described as a favorite to play. 

—Music News. Read on for the full review.

BRIGHTON'S FINEST | ALBUM REVIEW

Produced again by Sam Lakeman, the mantra ‘less is more’ runs through every track, with the majority formed simply of one man with a phenomenal voice and his distinctive guitar style. The arrangements are all beautifully played and perfectly pitched, indeed, it is hard at times to differentiate between his new material and the covers here. Opening with the beautiful title track, a tale of love cruelly snatched away by the tides of fate, it is the perfect entry point into Smith’s world. His rich, honeyed voice hits you first, quickly followed by the gentle, intricate playing style which he has become known for.

—Brighton’s Finest. Read on for the full review.

LOUDER THAN WAR | ALBUM REVIEW

he carries the weight of John Renbourn’s “the future of Folk Music” tag with effortless ease. On Hummingbird, John Smith comfortably and seamlessly combines his own original work with the  traditional form.

you’re subliminally listening to the ghost of John Martyn; to Dylan and Richard Thompson and not so much to the future of Folk Music, but Folk Music present.

—Louder Than War. Read on for the full review.

EUROPEAN RELEASE: HUMMINGBIRD

Dear friends,

My new record Hummingbird is out today in Europe (and will be released worldwide in early 2019). It’s a record I’ve wanted to make for a long time and I can’t wait for you to hear it.

I returned to Sam Lakeman’s Somerset studio in March of 2018, two years since recording ‘Headlong’ in that same place, to commit six of my favourite folk songs to tape, alongside one cover version and three original songs.

With my guitars and notebook, I sat for a week and dug into these songs, some of which I have performed hundreds of times, but never recorded. 

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The tracks quickly took on their own shape in Sam Lakeman’s able hands. I invited several good friends to join me in this process: Cara DillonJohn McCusker and Ben Nicholls (Seth Lakeman, Nadine Shah). Each a giant in their own right, they offered subtle and deeply nuanced performances to what I feel are my most restrained recordings so far. 

Sam and I adopted the motto ‘less is more’. We all know that a Folk Song’s clarity of purpose is exactly the reason why it has been played in pubs, living rooms and concert halls for hundreds of years.

I’ve been immeasurably fortunate to open for and even play with some of my heroes and influences in the folk world; John Renbourn, Davy Graham, Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Nic Jones, Joan Baez, Wizz Jones, John Martyn, Danny Thompson, Martin Simpson and Paul Brady. 

Their work and their generosity of spirit has been a constant reminder that I must keep playing, recording and touring, no matter the cost. There is always work to be done in the service of good music.

I made this record for myself, for my heroes and for you.

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