Published On: Wed, Mar 8th, 2017

Canaan Smith – Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Eagle-eyed readers will have already made their acquaintance with upcoming singer-songwriter Canaan Smith, in his interview on page 80 of this issue.


His recent appearance at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire not only marked the end of a UK tour supporting The Shires, but was also his London debut.

Joined onstage only by his guitarist, this intimate, acoustic setting proved beyond any doubt that Smith’s powerful voice and songwriting form the core of his music.
He opened energetically with One Of Those, playing acoustic rhythms while his guitarist handled the more intricate licks. Next, he followed with a raw, harmony-infused rendition of I Like It That Way, dedicated, as he jokingly put it, to the ubiquitously “crazy” American women out there.

Stuck was a sombre, sentimental reflection of his memories of Virginia Beach, the setting for much of his youth. Having finished the song, Smith dwelled on the titular theme of being ‘stuck’, describing how certain songs would get ‘stuck’ in his head whether he wanted them in there or not.

In this vein, he delivered a cover of Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls, coaxing a sing-along. Bronco, a tribute to his teenage brother who died in an automobile accident, was performed by Smith on his own, a cathartic performance with Canaan remarking “My brother is here with me,” immortalised in song.

A solid performance of the newly written Night Back followed. Canaan concluded with a performance of the song that launched his music career in the States – the hit single Love You Like That.

A heavier track in its recorded form, it was instead performed as a raw, acoustic incarnation. “If you’ll have me, I’ll be back”, he promised. Given the audience’s enthusiastic reception throughout, it was clear that tonight was just the beginning of Smith’s musical endeavours on our shores.



Tags: , , ,
Read previous post:
Whiskey Myers – The Dome, London

This Texan Southern-rock septet have wasted little time establishing themselves in the UK. Their first headline show in London sold...