It was apt that on the night the music industry was honouring the biggest stars in music with the BRIT awards, a rising singer-songwriter was performing an intimate gig at Loves Cafe in Weston-Super-Mare.
John Smith is one of the latest, critically acclaimed folk stars, and his talent has led him to the Transatlantic Sessions. It is not hard to see why, as he managed to fill the small but brilliant music venue, and held everyone in awe from start until finish.
It was not just John’s impressive guitar skills and his acoustic, fingerpicking style that impressed the audience, but his commanding voice which was subtle whilst also powerful. The complete juxtaposition to the gentle, quiet and almost shy character in between songs.
Being accompanied by a double bass and a fellow guitarist, gave his material an extra element and extra depth upon the acoustic foundations. In between songs, John gave witty and comical anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of the music scene – including being punched in the face in Leeds, earlier in the tour.
His music covers all different styles, with the traditional folk style encompassed by ‘A Long Way For A Woman’, to the dark and fast ‘Axe Mountain’ and the almost bluegrass, slide guitar on ‘Town To Town’. Added to this is the surprise inserts into songs of AC/DC and Van Morrison’s ‘Tupelo Honey’ as if they were in the originals.
John was supported by Canadian singer-songwriter and writing partner Dennis Ellsworth, who spent his birthday performing for the Weston crowd and later re-joined John for a stirring rendition of Elvis Presley’s ‘Dark Moon’.
As the final song of Smith’s show, he performed ‘Winter’, sat down and with the guitar across his legs, using not only the strings but the body of the guitar for a drum beat.
This was not the first time John Smith visited Loves Cafe, however he said he was thrilled to be holding his own gig at the venue. Every member of the audience was captivated by his incredible and versatile voice along with his acoustic, folk style, which isn’t always easy, even in an intimate, small setting.