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Coughlans Live Music Festival 2019

John Smith & guest Paddy Dennehy

Sunday 29th. 3pm. Tickets €18.50

Essex-born John Smith has built a reputation as one of the UK’s finest guitarists and songwriters. Raised by the Devon seaside and making his bones in the bars and clubs of Liverpool, John has released five albums with over 10 million Spotify streams. He has played to audiences all over the world in living rooms, festival tents and sold-out concert halls. He is a genuine folksinger, an inquisitive truth-seeker, devoted song interpreter, and enchanting writer.

Steeped in the lineage of British folk, taking his cue from Richard Thompson and John Martyn, Smith has evolved a transatlantic blend of fingerstyle and slide guitar techniques. John’s intimate takes on love, loss and the journey we make, combined with his innovative guitar work, have won him a loyal following. His honey-on-gravel voice and mesmerizing fingerstyle guitar are undeniable. Sometimes using a slide, sometimes with guitar on his lap, sometimes detuning mid-song, Smith’s obsession with the instrument has made a master of him. Whether by way of album or concert, he leads the listener, enthralled in his presence, on a viscerally emotional journey.

A contributor and collaborator, John quickly and effortlessly earns the esteem of his comrades and heroes. He has opened for folk greats including John Martyn, Davy Graham and John Renbourn, who called John Smith “the future of folk music.” On the contemporary side, he has also opened for Iron and Wine, Tinariwen, and Ben Howard. He has guested with artists such as Jackson Browne, Martin Carthy, Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker, Jerry Douglas, Glen Hansard and Rodney Crowell; and in his occasional role as sideman, he has played guitar for artists such as David Gray, Lisa Hannigan, Lianne La Havas, Joe Henry and Joan Baez.

Newcomers to Paddy Dennehy's music have a tendency be blown away. His first ever gig in Dublin was performing on 'The Late Late Show' after their booking team stumbled across him on YouTube. His first time playing his own material in Cork was a personal invitation from Glen Hansard to join him onstage at the Everyman Theatre after hearing him play 'Hard Times' on an old upright piano at the back of Benner's Hotel in Dingle. The first full band show to a mesmerised audience at Electric Picnic's 'Trailer Park Stage' left no one in doubt that they were seeing the beginning of something quite special indeed.

Performing with some of the greatest acts in Ireland and abroad (Imelda May, Mick Flannery, Lisa Hannigan to name a few...) has provided something of a steep learning curve for Paddy. "I remember coming away from the gig in King John's Castle in Limerick after supporting Imelda May thinking 'Jesus, I think I might have something good here, but 'good' isn't enough. My songwriting needs to get better, I have to work on my voice and my delivery if I want to keep performing on that level." This assessment led to many recordings being scrapped, songs taken apart and pieced back together and every aspect of the show being subject to scrutiny. "It took a long, long time for me to get a grip on what I want to do and how I wanted to deliver it."

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