Here is the latest single from John Smith, taken from his outstanding new album ‘The Fray’. The video, directed by Chris “MUG5” Maguire and Nastassja Simone with riot.nyc, was filmed in Wales, the scenic locations matching the beauty of the music. The directors channelled the concept of ‘Hiraeth’, a Welsh word that can’t be translated directly into English. According to the University of Wales, Lampeter, it can be defined as, “…a homesickness tinged with grief and sadness over the lost or departed” At the end of the video, a further definition appears: “…deep longing for something, especially one’s home,” which sounds like poetry. Smith explains further: “Their concept of an ode to ‘Hiraeth’ married perfectly with the message of the song. I was delighted to get out into the peaks of North Wales for the day. Late in the afternoon, the mist crept over the mountaintop, enshrouding us completely; it was as though Mother Nature herself had decided to direct the shoot.”
All this is fitting for a such a warm-hearted, open song, bursting with growth and positivity in the face of emotional challenges. The mesmerising guitar and Smith’s fine vocals are boosted by the fabulous contribution of Jessica Stavely-Taylor of The Staves, whose voice soars, ethereal and magical over the Welsh mountains and through the valleys. ‘Hold On’, like the other songs on the Sam Lakeman-produced album, demonstrates Smith’s impressive songcraft and finds the balance between engaging hopefulness and intimate introspection successfully.
If you haven’t already absorbed it, the new album is out now. Check it out.