Release Date: Jul 7, 2017
Record label: Barp
J ohn Smith broods off this album's cover art like a bearded hipster newcomer, despite years of dedicated service to folk. A celebrated guitarist, he's played on the Watersons' Bright Phoebus tour, dedicated this record to his late mentor, Pentangle's John Renbourn, and he's about to play on Joan Baez's new LP. Headlong, however, dwells far from that world.
D ividing his time between session work for the likes of Joan Baez and Lisa Hannigan and a stop-start solo career means that Devon-based singer-songwriter John Smith has become far more widely respected by his peers than by the public at large. It's hard to see that changing much with his fifth album. These 11 warm and gentle songs are exquisitely rendered - Smith's restrained, economical guitar style means not a note is wasted - but whereas a memorable hook is never far away in the songs of fellow traveller David Gray, here they remain tantalisingly out of reach.