New Release, Video & Tour: John Smith – Hold On

Photo Credit: Elly Lucas

Amongst a series of gorgeously framed shots of a foggy Brecon Beacons, singer, songwriter, and revered guitarist John Smith materializes into view just in time to sing the first lines of his song ‘Hold On’. Directed by Chris “MUG5” Maguire and Nastassja Simone—with Richard Shelton at the helm as Director of Photography—the new video was dreamt up as an ode to “Hiraeth,” a Welsh word without a direct English translation.

The University of Wales, Lampeter likens it to “a homesickness tinged with grief and sadness over the lost or departed”—an unparalleled companion to Smith’s words and music. “Their concept of an ode to ‘Hiraeth’ married perfectly with the message of the song”, he says of the video team. “I was delighted to get out into the peaks of North Wales for the day. Late in the afternoon, the mist crept over the mountaintop, enshrouding us completely; it was as though Mother Nature herself had decided to direct the shoot.”

Alongside the release of the video, John Smith is sharing the details for his upcoming UK tour this Autumn. The string of 14 dates throughout September will be the first opportunity for fans to hear the new record, since John’s very special, intimate livestream event back in March via Mandolin. All tour dates are below…

September 14 – Cardiff, The Globe
14 – Bristol, St George’s
16 – Corsham, The Pound Arts Centre
17 – London, Kings Palace
18 – Brighton, Unitarian Church
21 – Colchester, Arts Centre
22 – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
23 – Leicester, Y Theatre
24 – Reading, South Street Arts Centre
25 – Liverpool, Royal Philharmonic
27 – Glasgow, Stereo
28 – Newcastle, Gosforth Civic Centre
29 – York, National Theatre For Early Music
30 – Manchester, The Stoller Hall

Released back in March, Smith co-produced The Fray with long-time friend and producer Sam Lakeman. They recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio, with pianist Jason Rebello (Sting, John Mayer), bass player Ben Nicholls (Seth Lakeman, Nadine Shah), Drummer Jay Sikora (Paolo Nutini) and Jessica Staveley-Taylor of The Staves. The album is a true reflection of the times, with American collaborators Sarah Jarosz, Courtney Hartman, The Milk Carton Kids and Bill Frisell recording remotely and sending contributions over international borders. John’s frequent touring partner Lisa Hannigan contributed via a virtual studio session in Dublin.

On The Fray Smith’s vulnerability throughout is offered to his listeners, unadorned. “It’s been a hell of a year, but I feel I’ve created my most honest work as a result, and as a necessity. A lot of these songs are about accepting that life is hard, but just holding on and trying to enjoy it anyway.”


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