13 October 2018 (released)
16 October 2018
Coming just 1 year after the release of his much loved ‘Headlong’ album, John Smith’s new album ‘Hummingbird’ once again sees him in the studio alongside producer Sam Lakeman. Largely containing traditional songs that John has discovered over the years, alongside a handful of original songs and the odd cover version, with ‘Hummingbird’ John manages to confirm his position as one of this generation’s most important folk singers.
Talking about his inspiration behind the album, John explains “Ever since my teenage epiphany at the altar of Folk Music, hearing Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn for the first time, I have been a devotee. 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.
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.
It was with this in mind that 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 favorite folk songs to tape, alongside one cover version and three original songs”
Opening with current single ‘Hummingbird’ (“a love song in the key of D, for someone I used to know”), 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.
Highlights elsewhere include the hypnotic ‘Unquiet Grave’ on which Cara Dillion provides gorgeous vocals, the rousing ‘The Time Has Come,’ (a song originally written by Anne Briggs), and the fabulous tale of tragic love that is ‘Willy Moore’.
Five albums into his career, ‘Hummingbird’ is a total triumph. It is the sound of a truly independent artist sounding more inspired and more inspirational than he ever has.
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