Juzzie Smith’s music has the feeling of freedom pulsing from within it. As you listen you feel the joy and playfulness that makes Juzzie so loved by people of all ages and from all walks of life. Using a combination of keyboard, guitars, harmonica and percussion (all played with mind-blowing mastery by Juzzie) his unique music embraces elements of the blues, folk, groove and roots. But above all it’s feel-good music that soothes the soul and makes the heart sing.
Taking Time Out is an album that supports its title. As Juzzie grows so does his music in a beautiful way. The album marks the journey of this virtuoso music man’s quest to find integrity, love and balance in his art and life. As a young father and tired of late nights on the pub circuit Juzzie made a conscious decision to take his music to the people and the streets by busking mostly at local markets on the NSW north coast. Each time he played, the crowds got bigger.
He has gone on to become a true grassroots phenomenon, selling over 60,000 CDs, and is now a festival circuit favourite, loved for his energetic and awe-inspiring live performances. His story is perfectly told in the album’s delightful opening track La La – Juzzie’s deep resonant voice, his gorgeous guitar picking, bluesy harmonica and sublime melodies setting the tone for a stunning album. There are lush, evocative instrumental tracks like Gentle Ways or Dreaming and a surprising blues slide version of Waltzing Matilda. There are more groove-based tracks like the driving, stomp box blues of Be Love, the rhythmic shuffle of Find Our Way or sweet pop in The Keys. Also the beautiful hymn to surfing Ride On, which seems custom made for a sun-drenched, endless summer surf film.
‘I spent more than a year working on this album and it was a beautiful flowing journey,’ says Juzzie. ‘It all started with setting up my own home studio. I learnt how to create the sounds I felt the songs needed. Having my own studio gave me the freedom to record only when I felt clear and play-full. My favourite time to record was between 4am and 6am when everything was so still and our kids were still dreaming. A huge part of music is energy, how you feel and live all goes into the recordings. When you listen to this album, take some time out to feel life and live it with love.’
See Juzzie on Friday at the Currumbin SoundLounge.