John Smith – The Fray

John Smith - The Fray



4.2/5 Pros

  • Beautiful folk stories
  • Great atmosphere, majorly in acoustic guitar songs

The Fray is the new album by John Smith. The British singer-songwriter, who is independent and self-funding all his publications, has already quite a large fan base. The album, which is his sixth overall, will be released on 26th March 2021.


John Smith – About The Artist

John Smith is a singer-songwriter from Essex, Great Britain. He is majorly doing independent folk music-style recordings. He has released five albums so far, starting with The Fox and The Monk in 2006. His latest recording was Hummingbird (2018). His press material states a total of 40 million streams – a big share of that is however based on his 2017 song Far Too Good, which has 33 million streams on Spotify only.


John Smith – The Fray – Track by Track

The twelve track album lasts 48 minutes.

1. Friends

My friend, I won’t ever say goodbye
We’ll find one another down the line
Though people change, move on to a different place
My friend, I’ll always recognize your face

The album starts with a really interesting song. Starting like a acoustic guitar folk track, the instrumentation gets wider towards the end and the piano is taking over more and more control of the song. Nice one.

2. Hold On

The strong echo is in the song paired with the rhythmic background gives the second single, Hold On, a very special atmosphere. Again, the song is developing a very own melodic plot by working with different instrumentation in different parts of the song. From rhythmic guitar licks, a touch of brass or choir-alike backing vocals – these elements (and may more) find their way into Hold On. Great song.

3. Sanctuary

I saw the future with eyes wide open
Across a river of fallen leaves
And though you’re gone I was kind of hoping
You’d still be there to shelter me
And I would find some sanctuary

Even though the piano gains a stronger role over the 4:30 minute duration of the song, it stays simple, lean and melancholic. One of these kind of songs you stop and listen.

4. Deserving

Am I deserving of your love? is the key question of the fourth song of the album. John Smith’s songs all come with a certain touch of fragility, so that Deserving almost feels powerful in this set of songs. The more powerful Smith’s voice is getting over the curse of the song, the more intense this one becomes – until it almost feels breathtaking.

5. The Best Of Me

I pull the curtain, go to bed
Hush the voices in my head
Trouble gently disappears from view
I lay beside you in the dark
With just the beating of your heart
I know the best of me is here with you

The feelings about not being able to be on the road and not being able to perform his music is the core topic of The FrayThe Best Of Me is to me one of the key tracks of the album to me. The beauty of being home – despite all struggle which the pandemic situation is causing. A great listen.

6. Star Crossed Lovers

Star Crossed Lovers is a beautiful duet and one of the highlights of the albums. An acoustic guitar and two gentle voices – you just don’t need more for a good song!

7. To The Shore

To The Shore is one of the most melodic songs of the album to me. Even if you do not like homemade acoustic songs to much and thus struggle with John Smith’s album – give this song a try. A real beauty.

8. Eye To Eye

In Eye To Eye, Smith is accompanied by the US-American folk artist Sarah Siskind. Not too surprising they chose this song as a single – it is an absolute beauty and comes with a lot of harmony in sound – one of the few occasions in which this album features an electric guitar, by the way.

9. Just As You Are

As long as you love me I’ll take on your darkness
I’ll take on the cracks and the holes in your heart
But you seem to me like some angel’s reflection
And I see you just as you are
Just as you are

Just As You Are feels like a perfect fit song for Smith’s voice. His vocal warmth and gentleness feels already like a love song from the very first second. Beautiful listen.

10. The Fray

And it’s up all night
Down all day
I don’t know where I’m headed
But it seems I know the way
I’ll wait for the lights to fade out
And walk into the fray
We all end up there anyway

With guitar and piano sounds as well as comparably present drums, the title track feels “very loud” and present on the album. There is a touch of soul and rock in this song – and this finally results in one of the best songs of the album.

11. She’s Doing Fine

After many comparably long songs, She’s Doing Fine is just two minutes. A short farewell message to a beloved person. Just all that song needs – and still, it feels very special.

12. One Day At A Time

The album closes with the melodic, but very thoughtful song about how Smith has used (and: wasted) some of his lifetime in the past and what he wants to achieve One Day At A Time. Somehow depressing, but also motivating.


John Smith – The Fray – Spotify

You can listen to John Smith’s 2021 songs here:


John Smith – The Fray – My View

The Fray is for sure a beautiful collection of deep stories, simple – and nice – melodies. An album to relax and simply listen – handmade folk songs with an intimate touch. John Smith is made for the stage. He needs to bring these songs to intimate venues and present them to his audience. This album simply deserves it to happy soon.


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