Since their first gig, Smith and Brewer have received plenty of positive feedback from fans and the media alike. Their 2018 appearances have been no exception with reviews of their performances focusing on their musicianship and relaxed onstage style and their live album has attracted similarly complementary comments.
Album - Smith and Brewer - Live 16/12/17
'There's a definite feel of Simon and Garfunkel about this duo: two beautifully blended voices, accompanied with acoustic guitars. Very easy to hear why they were such a hit with Joan Armatrading [...]"Life's Too Short" is a real foot-tapping bluegrass ear worm. Once you've heard it, it is difficult to get it out of your head [...] Definitely a duo to watch out for - a modern day replacement for Simon and Garfunkel - what's not to like?'
Fairport's Cropredy Convention Reviews
'Fairport are then swiftly followed by Smith & Brewer [...] and their Americana-infused acoustic playing, combined with August sun and a few beers is the perfect way to get us into the festival vibe for this most friendly and laid-back of festivals.'
'The easy pace of the opening of the festival continued with Smith & Brewer. The young duo built a quick rapport with the crowd – their stage manner was excellent and their country tinged acoustic songs warmed the crowd up well for the rest of the day.'
'One of the newer traditions saw Fairport Convention Acoustic opening the festival [...] followed by one of my bands of the weekend, Smith and Brewer, a guitar duo very much in the vein of Simon and Garfunkel. Soulful vocals atop some amazing guitar work, one to look out for.'
'Smith and Brewer were very reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel enrapturing the crowd with just themselves and two guitars.'
'Other standouts were [...] the harmonious Smith and Brewer, who at times guitar-picked like Doc Watson. (Watch out for these two).'
Cambridge Folk Festival Reviews
'On the home-grown front Ben Smith & Jimmy Brewer are two of the finest guitarists out there and did two great sets. The musical interplay between them is jaw-dropping and they were clearly having a blast as were their audience.'
'Ben Smith and Jimmy Brewer, a most personable and hugely talented Americana guitar duo.'
'...Love, in all its aspects, is very often the subject matter, and on ‘Better Than Your Father’, Smith’s beautiful hymn to his son, it’s a pragmatic wish-list, “may you not pick up bad habits, I’ll try not to give you mine”. Yet even as the chirpy country of ‘Life’s Too Short’ coldly throws out “if she wants to leave you for somebody new, then let her”, it also features some gorgeously warm intricate picking. Along with the insistent, rolling blues of ‘Julietta’ with its frenetic guitar interplay there’s no doubting just how seriously good Smith & Brewer are and how compactly they work together...'
'Ben Smith and Jimmy Brewer two-part harmonies, romantic lyrics and warm guitar interplay are laid bare.'
'I’m utterly beguiled by this duo’s charming blend of close harmonies and melodious songs. It’s an obvious, perhaps even rather tainted comparison to make, but they’re a sort of English Simon and Garfunkel – without the relationship issues, hopefully.
[...]A group of students filing out say, “Well, that was really great”, and mean it. It was, really great.'
'The stand-out performance was undoubtedly their opener, “Isabella”. Its strength rested on the seamless harmonies: they sounded instinctual and they were extremely impressive to watch. It was easy to get carried away by the melodies and those delicious harmonies, themselves. The song: about returning home and missing a loved one was just a pleasure to listen to. Combining elements of bluegrass, country, even with a slightly funky edge (even for an acoustic set) Smith and Brewer’s music was a treat for the ears.'
'Seated purveyors of songs about weather and a whole range of human emotions both good and bad, delivered with twin guitars and perfect harmonies [...] The last time we saw Ben and Jimmy they were fresh back from their recent trip to the US and were now styled by the finest malls Nashville had to offer. Clearly buoyed from a successful trip and having played support slots with Graham Gouldman of 10CC and Ralph McTell their star is clearly on the rise.
'Songs that really pack a lot into their short duration, painting human emotions with a level of depth not often seen within the confines of a three minute song [...] Their eponymous EP is a pretty good representation of what they sound like live, voices and guitars in perfect harmony.'
There is lots to enjoy in a Ben and Jimmy set, we were immediately taken with “Another Shade Of Blue” with Jimmy’s almost Spanish guitar solo, while the pathos of “Lovely Day To Do Nothing” with food “delivered in boxes I forget to throw away” gets us every time. With a sound that is paradoxically both fresh and retro they are enormous fun to watch and marvel at as both their respective vocals and guitar playing interact. [...] The closing song, the up tempo “Don’t Say You Don’t Love Me” almost had touches of Sonny Curtis and Buddy Holly about it while remaining definitively theirs.
'Closing with a storming "Julietta" complete with a guitar break so awe inspiring it drew applause from the crowd mid song, and "Don't Say You Don't Love Me" the morning session completed on a high. There's an album due from these guys later in the year with a full band playing on it that we are really looking forward to.
From RnR Magazine