UK-based critically-acclaimed folk maestro John Smith, whose brilliant new album Hummingbird was released on March 22nd via Commoner Records/Thirty Tigers, has announced new tour dates which begin June 6th. Smith, who recently concluded a successful tour with Peter Mulvey, will provide support for Patty Griffin on the West Coast, making stops in San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, amongst others. See below for a list of dates.
Hummingbird, Smith's purest, most elegant set of recordings to date, is a moving mix of modern-day folk tunes and other traditional songs that reach as far back as the 15th century. "Some artists are a bit precious when approaching old folk songs, not trusting the sturdiness with which they've survived hundreds of years of interpretation. Smith doesn't do that," said Folk Alley in its premiere of the album. "He wraps himself around them and them around him, tugging here and stretching there to make them fit his own needs, while never abandoning the heart of their matters. Two things hit the listener right away: Smith's singing and playing. He's exceedingly gifted at both," they remarked. "His honey voice is the raw, unfiltered sort - sweet, smooth, and healing, but with a hint of grit when you want it most." "Folklore must maintain an ongoing conversation between the past and present," PopMatters noted, "and that is what we hear in the beauty and mastery of Smith's playing."
WATCH: JOHN SMITH AT PASTE STUDIOS
Smith, who has released five albums and toured the world for almost fifteen years playing as a session guitarist and singer for the likes of Joan Baez, Lisa Hannigan, and David Gray, became a folk devotee as a teenager after hearing artists like John Renbourn for the first time. Renbourn, a major inspiration and influence on Smith's art, has since dubbed the artist "the future of folk music."
"The six strings of my guitar have granted me access to a sacred space between things, the unconscious interweaving sensations that allow us that gentle buzz on hearing a good folk song," Smith explains of his journey. "I've been immeasurably fortunate to open for and even play with some of my heroes and influences in the folk world. Their work and their generosity of spirit have been a constant reminder that I must keep playing, recording and touring, no matter the cost," he continues. "There is always work to be done in the service of good music."
Hummingbird is available for download HERE.
JOHN SMITH TOUR DATES with PATTY GRIFFIN:
6/6 - Musical Instrument Museum - Phoenix, AZ
6/7 - Rialto Theatre - Tuscon, AZ
6/8 - Belly Up - Solana Beach, CA
6/9 - Pappy & Harriet's - Pioneertown, CA
6/12 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA
6/14 - Revolution Hall - Portland, OR
6/15 - Neptune Theatre - Seattle, WA
6/16 - Vogue Theatre - Vancouver, BC
Photo Credit: Rose Cousins