The effortless vocal combination of John Smith and Sarah Jarosz is a thing of beauty. On Smith’s latest single, ‘Eye to Eye’, their voices weave perfectly to tell the story of the song in a truly effective duet: “Used to be we read each other’s minds // You and me together, intertwined.” During 2020, Smith faced numerous personal challenges and traumas but managed to channel these experiences into inspiring new material, as he explains: “With newfound pain coming from so many directions, dealing with the uncertainty it brings, I closed the curtains and picked up the pen, turning to song-writing as a lifeline. It’s been a hell of a year, but I feel I’ve created my most honest work as a result, and as a necessity. A lot of these songs are about accepting that life is hard, but just holding on and trying to enjoy it anyway.”
The result is his new album, ‘The Fray’, due out on 26th March. The list of high-quality collaborators on the album is astonishing and includes the likes of Bill Frisell, The Milk Carton Kids, Jessica Staveley-Taylor (The Staves) and, of course, Sarah Jarosz, whose contribution to this spare ballad is sublime. Smith explains that ‘Eye to Eye’ is “…a plea for understanding. It’s about the desire to hold someone’s gaze and feel a sense of belonging; to stand alongside our loved ones without a trace of fear or hesitation.” Gorgeous stuff.