Ben Smith and Jimmy Brewer met at an event organised by Joan Armatrading for the acts she had chosen to support her on her 2015 tour. Although they originally planned to just write together, they soon realised that their playing styles and voices complemented each other and they started playing together after their inaugural gig supporting Joan Armatrading in front of a thousand-strong crowd.
Since then, they have played together all over the UK, notably as the support act to 10cc and Ralph McTell on their 2018 U.K tours, at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention 2018, the 2018 Cambridge Folk Festival and the UK Americana Music Association Showcase in 2017 and 2019, as well as at AmericanaFest in Nashville in 2017.
‘Smith and Brewer’ might conjure up thoughts of a firm of accountants or solicitors, but the musical duo of Ben Smith and Jimmy Brewer are as far removed from the stuffiness of those professions as can be. They create guitar-driven country-rock that’s dreamy and fiery, spontaneous and well-crafted. From beginning to end, Smith and Brewer exemplify originality and utilise their talents to make country music with a brain. They consistently deliver impressive performances; their harmonies, guitars, and percussion are all point perfect. This British pair is very reminiscent of the merging of two famous duos together, the Louvins and Everlys without sounding too much like either of the brother pairings. While honouring the past, this debut album sounds as bright as a new penny. That about sums up the feel of this recording: planted in yesteryear but cultivated firmly in the now. The duo shine as a beacon of warm and quirky outsiderdom in a rising tide of cookie-cutter Nashville Americana that is currently the norm for most UK ‘country’ acts.
Blended together Ben and Jimmy’s voices sound made for each other, soaring and guiding the music through all the ups and downs of these finely crafted songs. Upholding the highest standard in harmony-drenched cool-vibes country-rock, these dozen self-penned songs cover all the relationship issues from unrequited love to enduring passion and all the heartbreak in between. While this album may have more in common with songwriters from years past than it does with anything currently on country radio, this pair’s music is hardly a nostalgic throwback. It’s something new and entirely different, a unique approach that simultaneously pushes the boundaries of today’s country music and reclaims decades-old traditions for a new generation of listeners.