John Smith - Map Or Direction (4 stars)

John Smith - Map Or Direction


Another honey-voiced guitar virtuoso? Isn’t folk music packed with them anyway? Well, make room for one more – Glasgow-raised folk legend John Martyn and blues guitarist Davy Graham both held John Smith in high regard, and rightly so. David Gray also brought Smith as his support act when he played the Picture House last fortnight.

This album overflows with trickling guitar melodies seemingly played by waterfalls rather than fingers, with the occasional surprise thrown in to make you sit up and take notice – Smith shouting ‘Bastard, don’t you mention his name!’ in the Nick Cave-dark revenge tune ‘Axe Mountain’, or the wooden percussion on ‘Long Way For A Woman’ that sounds so rough and ready it gives you splinters.


1. PETER M21 Dec 2009, 5:02pm Report

Great album from an artist unknown to me before I saw him supporting David Gray in Bristol, December 2009. One of those support acts that kept the crowd interested from the start, and was given a rousing send off at the end of his set.
Great delivery of his material and even had some witty banter to go with it. Well worth a listen if you like accoustic music with substance and what a great guitarist. Loved his percussion guitar style. Strongly recommend going along to see him if he performs near you.

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