Allow me to introduce you to singer-songwriter Johnsmith.Â I'm hoping many of you already know this man and his music, but for those who do not, I urge you to give him a listen.Â He is a folk musician of the finest kind, drawing inspiration from his passions: home, family, relationships, nature, community.Â John's music expresses the sincerity and enthusiasm of a man deeply in love with life -- that kind of musician whose songs are universal, yet immediately accessible and personal.Â Â I love John's songs more with every listening.
Kickin' This Stone is often the disc in my CD player, and even though I know the words to every song by heart, have heard them countless times, I sigh when he sings of his mother in the nursing home or his youngest son leaving for college.Â These are familiar themes for those of us in our "sandwich: years: seeing our children fly from the nest, and comforting our parents in the winter of their lives.Â My choice of metaphors is not random:Â his songs sweetly reflect so much in nature.Â John told me nature keeps his music grounded and 'real.'
Kickin' This Stone is not John's most recent CD, but I highly recommend it as an introduction to John's music.Â Kickin' This Stone, the title track, invites listeners to take a walk with John through his hometown, idly booting a pebble ahead of us, and letting our thoughts wander. With the next track, Thomas Francis, we have decided to stop by the pub for a pint and a chance to reminisce with John about his Irish forefathers -- the recurring tree metaphor makes its first appearance here:
Well, I know I'm only just one limb
Blowin' in the summer wind
I'll drop my leaves come winter time
And I'll join them on the Other Side
The Irish humor is strong, as is the deep-rooted sense of love and family.Â There isn't a bad cut on the CD, from Don't Put Me in a Box where he rejects stereotypes and categorizations to his cover of Greg Brown's classic Early; from the very playful (and macho!) Monkey in Me to the sweetly-melancholy Time to Go Home.Â Perhaps the funkiest is Drive, but John's tribute to Dave Carter, Friend of the Coyote, is as quirky as Dave himself ever was.
John's anecdote about Iris Blue is a favorite: written as a silver anniversary gift, the song is an honest reflection on the preceding 25 years.Â The refrain of the song:Â "It ain't been all roses.. no, it ain't been all roses..."
"The most terrifying performance of my life was the day I played this song for my wife," he said.Â Her response?
"You're telling me!?"