John Smith & Hannah Read
“wonderfully unforced” ***** – The Independent
“He’s a magician” – Ben Howard
“Spellbinding” – Time Out
Against the backdrop of a universally difficult 2020, songwriter and guitarist John Smith found himself facing personal and unrelenting change. In the spring of 2020, Smith and his wife lost a pregnancy, and his mother was diagnosed with cancer. With his touring schedule of two hundred days a year on the road suddenly on indefinite hiatus, for the first time in over a decade, John was home.
“With newfound pain coming from so many directions, dealing with the uncertainty it brings, I closed the curtains and picked up the pen, turning to songwriting as a lifeline.” It’s unsurprising that the new songs reflect a shift in priorities. On his new album ‘The Fray’, Smith gives us an uplifting perspective on the path forward, but pays beautiful homage to the difficulties along the way.
Smith co-produced his sixth studio album ‘The Fray’ with long-time friend and producer Sam Lakeman. They recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio, with pianist Jason Rebello (Sting, John Mayer), bass player Ben Nicholls (Seth Lakeman, Nadine Shah), Drummer Jay Sikora (Paolo Nutini) and Jessica Staveley-Taylor of The Staves. The album is a true reflection of the times, with American collaborators Sarah Jarosz, Courtney Hartman, The Milk Carton Kids and Bill Frisell recording remotely and sending contributions over international borders. John’s frequent touring partner Lisa Hannigan contributed via a virtual studio session in Dublin.
Smith was born in Essex and raised on the Devon seaside. Known for his intimate songwriting, his honey-on-gravel voice and pioneering guitar playing, he has spent the last fifteen years touring internationally and has amassed over 40 million streams on Spotify. As a session musician, he has played guitar with artists as diverse as Joan Baez, David Gray, Joe Henry, Lianne La Havas and Tom Jones.
Support on the night from Hannah Read.
“Deserving crossover status, nine gorgeous originals” – The Guardian
Hailing from Scotland and now based in Brooklyn, Hannah Read is a versatile multi-instrumentalist widely recognised on the International stage.
Her original songs are largely influenced by the people, places and landscapes she has encountered along the way, as well as musings of home, travel, love and loss. This can be heard on her critically acclaimed album Way Out I’’ll Wander (Hudson Records) which is compiled of “nine gorgeous originals” (The Guardian).
Please note: this is a standing event.