Acclaimed guitarist and singer-songwriter John Smith has announced the release of his new album Headlong through BARP Records.
Produced by Sam Lakeman, mixed by Ruadhri Cushnan (Mumford & Sons, Flo Morrissey, The Maccabees) and featuring Cara Dillon on BVs, Headlong - dedicated to the memory of John Renbourn - is the follow up to Great Lakes, John’s widely-applauded and Radio 2-supported release of 2013.
Speaking about ‘Far Too Good’ - driven by his trademark gravel-in-honey vocals - John says; “This is one of my favourites from the new batch, I’ve opened all my live shows with this lately. It’s one of those songs that wrote itself, a rare occurrence - I’d just got off the phone with a friend who was having a hard time, so this one is for him”.
Not by chance is it that John’s fifth album comes bearing a title implying impulsive, breakneck motion - written as it was, across various touring stints playing guitar for the likes of Lianne La Havas and Lisa Hannigan (who fittingly lends a co-write to Headlong, on ‘Coming Home’) across the U.S. Having wound up his own success-ful 2 year stint touring Great Lakes round the UK & Europe (taking in sold-out shows at Union Chapel and The Purcell Rooms), in early 2016 John was finally afforded a chance to come off the road and settle in one place for a while. An opportunity which Smith soon elected to decline; “I felt like I had time on my hands, and I thought rather than go home and try to write where it just didn’t feel natural, I wanted to keep on touring. It felt right”.
Subsequently recorded in Sam Lakeman’s Somerset studios in just over a week, Headlong is marked by the loss of Smith’s close friend, Pentangle’s John Renbourn, who passed away whilst Smith was out on tour. Says John; “He was so much more to me than someone I’d played with, and who had encouraged me. He was a friend as well, so I wanted to reference him on this album- that’s why I’ve dedicated it to his memory”. Renbourn’s presence is particularly palpable in Smith’s equally sparing and striking electric guitar work- in-formed by a love for JJ Cale and Clapton - which weaves through Headlong, marking a break of sorts from the lush string orchestration that characterised Great Lakes.