Spain's "Smiling Jack Smith" Makes Ontario Debut
Performing with Cootes Paradise
July 15th, 2016, 8pm
Oddfellows Hall, 63 Main Street, Dundas, ON
Cover $10.00 at the door
Sue Leonard, of Cootes Paradise band, and Smiling Jack Smith have been "virtual" friends for at least 10 years. Despite both of them having lived in the Vancouver area for quite some time, they never actually met, although they had myriad mutual friends. Leonard heard about Smith shortly after moving from the Queen Charlotte Islands to Vancouver in 1980, and knew that he was working with a host of mutual musician friends on the local club scene. It seemed that everyone knew Jack Smith – but Sue. Well after all these years, the opportunity has finally arrived.
Leonard signed up to MySpace a decade or so ago, and she and Jack became fast musical friends because of their many common connections. They shared each other's music, even unfinished pieces before they were recorded, offering each other feedback and encouragement. She still talks of one song in particular, "This Blue Before", that she hopes to record one day, and describes as "stunning".
Smith eventually relocated and lives with his family in Spain, working as a full time musician. A few weeks ago, he mentioned to Sue via one of their occasional Skype conversations, that he was planning a tour in Germany, followed by a few shows in Vancouver, including a reunion with fellow musicians he has not seen or played with in many years. The subject of coming to perform in Ontario came up, and the idea of joining forces with Cootes Paradise was born.
Sue Leonard, as both a friend and a fan, jumped at the chance to make this talk turn to walk, and proposed a double bill with Cootes Paradise, and also invited her friend and Leonard, Burns and Dell band mate, Cindy Dell to join the fun. She and Sue will perform a few songs, as well as add sweet harmonies to Smith's set, followed by a Cootes Paradise performance. It's shaped up to be a special evening not to be missed in a funky and fun venue that reminds one of a cozy rec room with great sound and ambiance.
Cootes Paradise is a newly formed Dundas-based band that is already drawing crowds and piquing curiosity due to its impressive lineup of musicians.
SMILING JACK SMITH
Smiling Jack has been writing and singing his songs in a career that spans five decades and three continents…from New York City to Vancouver, from Florida to New Jersey, from Madrid to Australia, from London to Hamburg.
His music has changed and evolved with the times and the places he has seen and lived: folk songs with The Smith Brothers in New York (with lead guitar Stan Jay), folk-rock in Vancouver (with players like Joe Mock, Pat Coleman, Ed Patterson and Robbie King), country in Florida (with T.C. Carr on harmonica) and blues in Europe and Australia (with David Gwynn, Antonio Serrano and Jim Finn).
On street corners, at arts and craft fairs, in concert halls and bars, and more recently in house concerts (especially in Kiel, Germany) the audiences have been warm and responsive, giving Jack a place in their hearts and minds.
His recordings, ranging from the A Capella CD with Party Fever in Vancouver through This Blue Before (produced by Pat Coleman with an all star cast of Canadian musicians) to the acclaimed acoustic project Now That Truth Was Gone with David Gwynn, have been played all over the world.
Now That Truth Was Gone was named as one of the Top Ten Blues Records released in Europe in 2012 by the Underground Blues Network.
Jack has just released a new CD, Simple Pleasure, again working with David Gwynn. It is the logical successor to their last CD, an eclectic mix of many different blues styles and topics following along the path that led him to be called "Spain's blues poet" by Vicente Zumel from La Hora del Blues.