Review: Kirk Smithhart – Wrexham

Posted on: Monday, Jun 11, 2007


with special guests Tommy Allen and Craig Bacon of Trafficker

Young Memphis guitarist Kirk Smithhart was making his first visit to the UK accompanied by brothers Doug McMinn (drums) and Rome McMinn (bass). They had been in Europe for the previous two weeks and the gig at Wrexham was the last of the short three gig UK tour before their return to Memphis.

Kirk was the 1998 recipient of the Albert King best unsigned guitarist for the USA and has been playing around the Southern states with many of the legendary Memphis bluesmen building up a solid reputation.

The opening set was a mixture of blue, blues rock and country rock and featured a number of instrumentals with the quality of Kirk’s playing drawing rapturous applause.
The top spots of this seventy minute opener were a swing number My Baby Can’t Be Found, Slide On Down The Road which as it’s title suggested featured some wonderful slide guitar and Muddy’s I Just Wanna Make Love To You.

The second set opened with a song that Kirk had written whilst in Europe, You Get The Blues and was followed by Steve Earl’s Copperhead Road.
There then featured a wonderful version of Hendrix’s Little Wing which was intespersed with a number of classical music sequences – quite amazing.

Doug McMinn had toured the UK with Mojo Buford and showed his versatility by playing the harp and drumming one handed on Down Home Blues before he handed over the drumsticks to Trafficker’s drummer Craig Bacon who was joined up front by his bandleader Tommy Allen. Doug moved on to two handed harp and the band kicked off into Junior Wells’ Messin’ With The Kid.

The final session then really produced some memorable music with Kirk and Tommy trading licks and enjoying every minute. Trafficker’s anthem Memphis Nights was followed by Johnny B Goode with both lead men sharing the vocals as well as the guitar licks.

Kirk then went back to the slide on Dave Hole’s Keep Your Motor Running which blasted straight into Jimmy Reed’s Big Boss Man before the ten minute encore took the excitement into the red zone with Kirk’s self penned Super Duper Love.

The band had played not far short of three hours and had treated the packed venue to a night that was one to remember. As a result of the great bonding between Kirk and Tommy, it is hoped that they might combine next year on a fuller UK tour, and on the evidence of this performance, it will be a great success.




June 11th, 2007 at 19:27
Permalink this comment


Bloody hell mate – are you employing ghost writers now! Seriously though as I was on the lash in Newquay my good friend Mr. Trematick, the Cornish-Welshman was in attendance. He thoroughly enjoyed the gig and was kind enough to run me off a cd, which I must admit for a non blues/rock fan found to be very good! I will certainly make the effort next time he is over! Thought he has a bit of David Coverdale about his voice and he does not overdo the guitar stuff!


Pete Evans

June 12th, 2007 at 22:15
Permalink this comment


Hi Mate
In fact I saw the gig in Swansea which was the same set as in Wrexham – however – the whole Wrexham gig was recorded via the desk (with permission) by my good fiend Big Al of the North Wales Formation Drinking Team so as no-one was prepared to write a review, I ghost wrote it on the basis of what was on the recording.
Everyone has been raving over the gig and certainly in Swansea they went wild with Terry Williams (ex Dire Straits) saying that he thought they were one of the best bands they’d presented in a long time.