The First Album of John Smyth

John Smyth

"Hunger Mountain Clay" by John Smyth

The first time I met John Smyth, he was standing in a corner at Skunk Hollow Tavern right before his set came up at the Wednesday night Open Mic. With his guitar hanging low, he started strumming with such intensity that the room became completely silent. Instantly, John Smyth became a legend at Skunk. We understood the sorrow in his songs and laughed with him as we echoed back his “Un-Hun” to “Talkin’ Raccoon Stink-eye Blues”.  You can imagine the Skunk’s explosive excitement at the arrival of John’s first album (CD) Hunger Mountain Clay.

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Each cut is a musical story: some jazzy, some blues, some with a Spanish feel, and others with the weave of a love story like only John can tell. There’s heartbreak, self-reflection, passion, joy, and humor woven throughout. The opening cut “My Baby Drives Too Fast” (but I don’t care…) is quite singable with its tongue –in-cheek humor. Clear descriptions with the upbeat tempo set vivid pictures within the mind.

“Something Nice” tells the story of many relationships that begin happily but end in a place of self-centeredness.  “Bordertown” is one of the most significant cuts on the album. The quality of story telling is reminiscent of Dylan or Neil Young. Genius quality as determined by the greats at Skunk.

“Hunger Mountain Clay”,the title cut, is a beautiful tribute to gentle kindness offered during difficult days. It’s filled with the type of love that goes beyond male-female relationships. I wanted to love this song the most on the album, but then came “Dirt”and my heart sank and my eyes filled with tears. John captured the depths of the human condition and the words and music shrouded me in the significance of what he was expressing.

“Nothing but Pearls” is filled with poetic beauty and artistic imagery. John touches upon a different style of presentation with this number. Its gentle flowing romantic love blossoms in the purity of passion.

I don’t know what it’s like to hear the album without knowing the man, so I must suggest you not only purchase the album Hunger Mountain Clay but that you also go and hear John Smyth live.

You can find him on Facebook to purchase the album or email him at

If you contact me, I’ll also be happy to find a way to get the album to you and will keep you posted with updates of where he’ll be playing. 

Hunger Mountain Clay


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