Simple Pleasure

Mike Greenblatt, Goldmine-April 22, 2015

A perfect title for a perfect pairing, Simple Pleasure (self-released) by Smiling Jack Smith and David Gwynn bristles with Gwynn's fancy pickin' and solos atop Smith's downhome original folk'n'blues. It's an honest sound…the sound of two men making music fit to smile at. Smith has that lowball deep bass growl like Johnny Cash ( especially on “Lovestruck” ) and you believe him. I mean, hell, who here hasn't been bamboozled by some floozy's “Bedroom Eyes” and ultimately disappointed. I know exactly what he's singing about. Check that age-old musical question “What You Gonna Do When The Love Runs Out” (it always does) for some hot Gwynn licks. Gwynn, from California, has recorded in Spain and produced other artists for years. American-Canadian Smith has performed on street corners, at clubs and house concerts on three continents over five decades, These two meld beautifully.

Simple Pleasure

Vicente Zumel, La Hora del Blues (May 03, 2015)

One of the hottest duos in the Madrid Blues scene is made up of singer, composer and guitarist Smiling Jack Smith and lead guitarist David Gwynn. They both have had extensive experience in the field of blues, folk and roots music and they are sounding really tight as a result of having played together for quite some time now. In this their most recent CD, they present 11 new songs that groove and flow and seem to exude an irresistible fragrance, played naturally and effortlessly. They are poetic, beautiful and intimate, perfect for enjoying in those moments of peace and tranquility when we seek refuge in our own solitude. All the songs were written by Jack Smith, who gives free rein to all his creativity as a writer, so both he and Gwynn can show us the high quality of which they always boast.

Now That Truth Was Gone

Vicente Zumel, La Hora del Blues (Jan 02, 2012)

"A folk blues troubadour, a real 'story teller' and an inveterate 'rolling stone', this is 'Smiling' Jack Smith. Gifted with a fine sensitivity, Jack brings us his latest work recorded in the spirit of a wandering poet, who at the same time knows exactly where his life is going. Smith sings about life, love, everyday problems, without the slightest worry about what people will think of him, he always does what he wants to do and he knows how to get it done because, as Schopenhauer said, "Half of our worries and anxieties arise from concern for the opinion of others..." Definitely this is not the case with our blues poet. For this album Smith has the valuable collaboration of the excellent guitar player David Gwynn, who rounds out the whole work to make both guitar players sound interwoven, effective and spontaneous. Ten well built songs deeply based on blues, neofolk and Americana."

by Stan Jay, President, Mandolin Brothers©, Ltd.

Smiling Jack Smith has a new album called "This Blue Before" with a superb blues band. His voice, although becoming more than a little raspy, not quite to the level of Tom Waits' entropy but suitably inflected to suggest a life of chronic late night adventure, is still vital, convincing, and put to its best and highest use by this singer/writer. The writing is pure Jack Smith - sardonic, self-centered (but all blues is, by definition, unabashedly self-centered), self-assured, except when it purports to not be and even then it's assertively self-deprecating. It is an album well worth ordering; the music and the performance by every musician are beyond first class. Don't order it just to hear this talented ex-patriate Staten Islander sing the blues, as capably and joyously as it has ever been done, buy it because this group may actually be the best continuously working blues band that gets paid in Euros.


THIS BLUE BEFORE, by Vicente Zumel, La Hora del Blues

You can notice Smiling Jack Smith betters himself in every new piece of work he does, not only as an excellent singer, guitar player and song writer, but also in the final production, musical concept, selection of musicians, arrangements, perfecting the sound of the whole album . With this new cd Jack has reached the peak. Soul, blues, swing, groove- in short good music, very well cooked with extremely good taste so, for the time being, we are facing the best album of his musical career. This Blue Before was recorded and produced in Canada, using his habitual drummer, the Spanish musician Quique Villafañe, who greatly contributes with his beat, tempo and tasteful breaks to the recording's success. But Jack has also included an splendid bunch of great Canadian musicians, together with a faultless horn section perfectly lead bt Phil Dwyer, that gives a brightness and strenght to the tracks. VERY GOOD!.