Acclaimed singer and guitarist John Smith will return with a new album, Headlong, on June 30, 2017. Produced by Sam Lakeman and featuring Cara Dillon on BVs, Headlong comes dedicated to the memory of John Renbourn and is the follow up to Great Lakes, John’s widely-applauded and Radio 2-supported release of 2013.
Headlong is the fifth album in a hard-working, under-the-radar career that has earned the Devon-born Smith a dedicated following and secured the respect and admiration of his peers. The late Renbourn called him “the future of folk music”, and Smith has opened shows for artists as diverse as Iron and Wine, John Martyn, Tinariwen and Gil Scott-Heron. He has also played on sessions for Joan Baez, Cara Dillon and Joe Henry among others, with Lianne La Havas and Lisa Hannigan both recruiting him to play lead guitar in their bands.
Many of the songs here are inspired by John’s wife and newborn baby- together they form a magnetic north of sorts for Headlong. Headlong also bears the indelible loss of John’s close friend Renbourn. The death of the Pentangle legend took a particularly strong toll; “His death really hit me hard” says Smith; “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”.
Whilst John Smith has stood still just long enough to commit this new album to record, there’s yet little danger of moss gathering. Smith has also been tapped to play guitar on the forthcoming album from Joan Baez (with an appearance on the forthcoming Martin Simpson album also in the works), alongside his Great Lakes’ collaborator, Joe Henry.