PETER MULVEY – Tickets – The Evening Muse – Charlotte, NC – May 5th, 2019


MaxxMusic & The Evening Muse present


John Smith

Sun 5/5

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

The Evening Muse

$12 adv/$15 dos (Reserved Seating Available)

SILVER LADDER is an auditory shot in the arm from veteran touring songwriter Peter Mulvey. Produced by the indomitable Chuck Prophet, it is a lean, muscular collection of tightly constructed songs, leavening Mulvey’s tendency toward ruminative and yearning acoustic songs with a dose of sharp-witted, punchy rock and roll.

After a turbulent stretch in his personal life left him at sea, Mulvey decided to write his way out of it: “I've been through it. I bet you have too,” he said, “but there are times in life when you turn a corner and suddenly everything is simple: let's make some songs, people! Let's play!” Committing to writing one song a week relieved him of the precious, self-involved artist’s question, What Do I Have To Say? The songs came flooding out over the weeks and months, and within a year he had more than enough for a new record.

Reaching out to Chuck Prophet was meant to continue shaking himself loose. The two had met only once, at a gig. After Prophet agreed to produce, Peter flew to Los Angeles to meet the band of complete strangers Chuck had assembled, and within hours they were tracking tunes. David Kemper, veteran of five years on the road and in the studio with Bob Dylan, made up the rhythm section with Tom Freund (Ben Harper) on upright bass. Chuck and his Mission Express guitarist James DePrato provided the electric guitar fireworks, and Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek) supplied touches of harmony vocal and violin. Aidan Hawken (Highwater Rising, The Quiet Kind) provided textures unheard on Mulvey’s past fifteen records: celeste, Chamberlin, Mellotron. The great East Coast torch singer Anita Suhanin lent her voice to a heartbreaking duet.

From its first track, SILVER LADDER brims with confidence and grit. From the unapologetic rock of “Sympathies” to the starkly beautiful “What Else Was It?”, from the conspiratorial swagger of “Lies You Forgot You Told” to the joyous release of “Back in the Wind”, SILVER LADDER is the work of an artist in his prime. After nine sharp songs, the record ends with a vigorous left turn: the swampy groove of “Copenhagen Airport” at first seems to be an instrumental, until its simple two-line lyric delivers a universal jolt of recognition. Then vertiginous sweep of “If You Shoot at a King You Must Kill Him” is offset by the concise, piercing coda, “Landfall”.

SILVER LADDER is an artistic rebirth for Mulvey, the work of an artist who has discovered his inner rock-and-roller, a man who has been through the eye of the needle and come through it with a haul of songs to spark and encourage his fellow humans.
John Smith
John Smith
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.

He has released five records - his most recent “Headlong” (2017) reached #15 in the Indie Breakers chart, #1 on iTunes’ Singer-Songwriter chart, and amassed over 10 million Spotify streams.

His forthcoming album “Hummingbird” will be released 5 October in Europe and in early 2019 in the rest of the world on his own imprint, Commoner Records, via Thirty Tigers worldwide.

John Smith's inspiration for making "Hummingbird" was deeply personal. An album he has long wished to make, "Hummingbird" reflects the sum of his influences - be they centuries, decades, years, or days old.

The traditional songs on the album originate as far back as the 15th Century, and yet the record is surprisingly current, revealing the affirming consistency of the human condition. In the course of 10 songs, John explores timeless themes of longing, love, loss, horror, tragedy, grief, resilience, desire, devotion, heroism, romance, dignity, and ultimate triumph.

John has formed a relationship with the songs over the course of his entire life - some from childhood ("Lord Franklin") and some from over a decade touring ("Willy Moore" and "Time Has Come"). The album reflects the role his influences have played in his own songwriting, selecting and interpreting. Artists including John Renbourn, Davy Graham, Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Nic Jones, Joan Baez, Wizz Jones, John Martyn, Danny Thompson, Martin Simpson, and Paul Brady.

"I wanted to get away from any sense of artifice and dressing it up. The thing that really appealed to me about recording this album was the idea that I could just sit with a guitar and record something that reflects everything I've learned in all my years of touring and that will also affect people in ways I can't predict. I wanted to remove the obstacles that often interfere and come between artist and audience; it feels like the right thing to do for these songs. Not a lot of people do that anymore - but those are the records I really love. Albums from the 60s and 70s when folk recordings were made concisely and the focus was to get your point across." -John Smith

Living with the traditional songs on "Hummingbird" are new original songs penned by Smith ("Hummingbird," "Boudica," and "Axe Mountain (Revisited)") - which stand up alongside the others as evidence of the power of his influences and personal history on his present creativity.

Produced by Sam Lakeman and recorded at his Somerset studio, "Hummingbird" features Cara Dillon, John McCusker and Ben Nicholls.
Venue Information:
The Evening Muse
3227 N. Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC

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