John’s mesmerizing voice and superb guitar playing bring a depth and clarity to the familiar songs in a way that breathes new life into the music. The late John Reborn once described Smith’s approach as “the future of folk music” and this collection confirms that it certainly is in safe hands.

This is a great album by a great performer and you should have it in your collection. If this is indeed the future of folk music, bring it on!

—Living Tradition


Dear friends,

I’ve had a marvellous time of it on the road so far, beginning in Scotland with John McCusker and Ben Nicholls, then joining up with John and Joe McGurgan, for a run of shows that resumes this week. The audiences have been generous and the venues have been really sweet. I couldn’t ask for much more…except perhaps, more gigs.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to announce a new run of UK solo dates! I’ll be playing some cities that you told me I should return to, and some others that I thought I’d visit anyway. I hope to see you out there.

In amongst these dates is a very special show for Celtic Connections; I’ll be playing the John Martyn tribute, ‘Grace & Danger’.

I was in Hank’s on Denmark St the day I heard John Martyn was dead. I had spent the last two years opening for him around the UK, finding a foothold in the touring circuit as a direct result. John’s acceptance of my presence within his touring machine changed my life in just about every way imaginable. I mourned for the man. He was several different people in one body and I caught a glimpse of each one, I think.

Almost ten years later I got a call from Danny Thompson, inviting me to pay tribute to John with him and his friends. I said Yes Sir. Life moves in weird and often beautiful circles. I’m looking forward to this show more than words can say.

JS x


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.


Spellbinding autumnal listening.

English folk singer John Smith’s Hummingbird is a fine thing, beautifully combining a classic rustic vibe with poetic lyrics. Having spent over 15 years touring with just his trusty guitar, Smith has cultivated an enthralling style. On this album, he pays affecting homage to major influences like Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. But he is his own man.

Devastating at times, cautiously optimistic at others, Hummingbird is a hugely compelling listen.

—Hot Press. Read on for full review.

Shire Folk | Album Review

John’s exquisite guitar playing is beautifully and subtly augmented by contributions from Cara Dillon, John McCusker and Ben Nicholls. (A musician’s dream team!)

The songs are, for the most part, well known to any folk fan but they feel fresh and contemporary delivered through John’s rich, husky vocals.

—Jane Dawson