Exeter Phoenix, Thursday
John Smith grew up in Brixham, Devon – a precocious and instinctive musician, he had been writing his own compositions on piano from the age of eight. His father bought him his first guitar at 11; after that he just wanted more. He was hooked, fuelled on a diverse diet of Bach, Debussy, Ry Cooder and Led Zeppelin from his dad's record collection.
"It's always made me very, very happy to play the guitar, and I listen to just about any music I can get my hands on," says John, who has about a dozen guitars now, plus a banjo and a mandolin. That puppy love has blossomed into a polished, longstanding relationship that finds 31-year-old John slowly but surely winning over a posse of fans. His tour celebrates the recently released fourth LP, Great Lakes, and a single of the same name. It's a record that showcases his rich self-penned songs, defined by all manner of organic guitar manipulation, his husky, honeyed baritone and easy but intricate instrumental arrangements.