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.
John has four records out; "The Fox and the Monk" (2006), "Map Or Direction" (2009), "Eavesdropping" (2011) and ”Great Lakes" (2013). These are self-released and available through this website or at concerts.
John is an unsigned and independent artist.
“He’s a magician.”
“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
“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.”
“John Smith again demonstrates why he is regarded as the guitarists’ guitarist.”
The Sunday Times
“Fluent guitar work and stimulating songs.”
“Weathered and warm.”
“A truly beguiling sound…pure, honest and compelling.”
Irish Sunday Business
“Displays admiral craft and musicianship.”
“Do yourself a favour and get acquainted with John Smith right now.”
“Achieves something quietly spectacular…John Smith has created a real thing of beauty.”
Thank Folk For That
“Lays bare his fiercely accomplished guitar playing…the quality of 'Great Lakes' is such that you hope John Smith will never stop writing.”
“ 'Great Lakes' is ambient and effortlessly captivating.”