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Josh Smith & The Frost
@ Bunkers, July 25, 1997
By Ray Stiles

Josh Smith - 7/25/97
Bunker's Bar & Grill
Photo © 1997 by Tom Asp - All rights reserved
Josh Smith was three years old when he got his first guitar and seven when he started taking lessons. At age thirteen a veteran Fort Lauderdale area blues band, The Rhino Cats, were so impressed with his guitar playing they asked him to join the group. At seventeen, Josh Smith has just finished recording his third album (produced by Jim Gaines), has graduated from high school, is doing more touring, and is ready to be noticed on the national blues scene.

I had heard his most recent 1995 release, Woodsheddin', and was impressed with his guitar playing but was not prepared for what I witnessed at Bunkers on this Friday night. This kid is a phenomenal guitar player! He is one of the best guitar players I have seen on stage. His live performance allowed him to stretch out and display his remarkable skill and virtuosity. When Jimmy Thackery was in town recently I asked him about the young guitar slingers because he has played with them all. He said Josh Smith is "the best" guitar player of the bunch. He even went on to say that when he is on stage with Josh he just shakes his head in amazement at what Smith is doing with his guitar.

During the first of two sets at Bunker's, Smith demonstrated his skill in a variety of guitar styles from blues, to rock to jazz. He is not just all flash and noise. His guitar playing has substance and shows a mastery and taste not often found in many of today's new players. Just when I thought I had him pegged with a certain style of playing he would come out with something totally fresh, new and amazing. He did a superb jazz number during the first set that left our jaws hanging open in amazement. At the end of this set he also did an extended walk about the room playing directly to individual patrons - like it was a show especially for them. At one point he downed a glass of water while he continued to play one handed - not missing a beat. At another point as he was walking past one table he picked up a beer bottle and used it for a slide. I happened to run into those people a few weeks later at another show and we were talking about his amazing performance. They thought he was in his mid twenties and couldn't believe he was that young and able to play with such maturity and skill.

His first set featured a wide variety of playing - blues, jazz, country and rock. His second set was pure blues! When I thought it couldn't get any better, he pulled out the slide and started playing an Elmore James lick that was dean on. Then he took off into a totally new dimension transforming it into an exhilarating musical experience. When Josh Smith returns to town this winter this is one show you have got to see!

Visit the Josh Smith web site.

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