John has played to audiences all over the world, in living rooms, festival tents and sold-out concert halls. He tours relentlessly with guitar and suitcase, sometimes with a small band, always looking to communicate through a song and to share something intangible with those willing to listen.
John has opened shows for Iron and Wine, John Martyn, Tinariwen, Gil Scott-Heron and John Renbourn; and has performed alongside the likes of Jackson Browne, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, Martin Carthy, Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker and Rodney Crowell. In his occasional role as session musician he has played for artists such as David Gray, Lisa Hannigan, Joe Henry, Gabrielle Aplin and Lianne La Havas.
It’s all for the love of the guitar. John plays a rumbling fingerstyle and sometimes uses a slide, sometimes plays the guitar on his lap, sometimes he detunes mid-song. His guitar work and honey-on-gravel vocals have brought crowds to pin-drop silence and rapturous applause.
Not by chance is it that John’s new record ‘Headlong’ comes bearing a title implying impulsive, breakneck motion – written as it was, during various touring stints in North America – with a view ahead, to new horizons and new songs, to new opportunities and new audiences. The album also bears the indelible loss of John’s friend and guitar hero John Renbourn, who called John “the future of folk music” and to whose memory ‘Headlong’ is dedicated.
John currently has five self-released records out; ‘The Fox and the Monk’ (2006), ‘Map Or Direction’ (2009), ‘Eavesdropping’ (2011) ‘Great Lakes’ (2013), and ‘Headlong’ (2017).
“He’s a magician.” Ben Howard
“I believe in John Smith; his motivations are pure, his vision is straight, his music is honest and true. Were I to discover another man’s music flowing through my body and out my hands, and that music to be his, I would consider myself both lucky and blessed.” Kelly Joe Phelps
“Spellbinding.” Time Out
“A guitar genius…He sounds as though he arrived 60 years ago but looks startlingly young, perched on a chair, quietly confident, charming and instantly engaging.” The Sun
“John Smith again demonstrates why he is regarded as the guitarists’ guitarist.” The Sunday Times
“Fluent guitar work and stimulating songs.” The Telegraph
“Staggeringly good.” Acoustic Magazine