Walking unannounced on to the stage Devon singer/songwriter just gradually dawned on the audience as the opening bars of There Is A Stone floated over the top of the packed venue in Birmingham.If you have heard John Smith's latest album, Great Lakes, from which, not surprisingly, most of the set was taken and you think he sounds excellent on that, then hearing his voice and guitar playing live takes thing to a whole other level.
|John Smith's new album Great Lakes
The emotion the unassuming singer put into tracks such as the title song was just awesome, keeping the audience entranced with every note.With his song Jasmine, which carried more of a thump from his guitar, his soft but emotive lyrics began to display the range and quality of his voice
Another track from his Great Lakes album, Freezing Winds of Change, gave his audience another example of his tremendous guitar skills.
He pulled out a fantastic slide guitar intro for Town to Town which was atmospheric and reminiscent of the great Ry Cooder and like Cooder, Smith is obviously a craftsman when it comes to using a guitar.
Every Now and Again was a soft and deep ballad with Smith's moon howling-style refrain which evoked images of Chris Izaak and which showed the depth of sound Smith is able to create with ease. Once again with the love song Perfect Storm which was written with Canadian Ellsworth Smith displayed just how good is on the guitar skills clear again. The rawness he can produce in his voice was clearly evident in England Rolls Away and Where Did All Our Love Go Wrong was another song where Smith was able to convey deep emotion through his wonderfully versatile voice.
Towards the end of his set his pulled out Salty and Sweet, which was inspired by a small fishing port near where he grew up, which he played as a light ballad and is one of those songs that is genuinely fun to listen to.
To finish the night Smith went out with Never Going Back Again, a bluesy, bluegrass crossover type of sound, The Only One on My Mind and much to his fans delight his last one of the session was Winter where he played his guitar like drum.