An east London-born folk musician has embarked on a UK tour.

John Smith, 40, is performing at venues from Cornwall to Cumbria following the release of his EP, The Fray Variations, a collaboration with Oscar-winning film composer Steven Price.

The latest EP was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and reinterprets six tracks from John's previous album, The Fray, with a string quartet arranged by Price.

John said: “I wanted to release them in their own right, to give the space that Steven’s arrangements deserve."

The pandemic proved to be a particularly challenging time for the Barking-born musician.

He and his wife lost a baby during pregnancy whilst they were locked down at their home in the Clwydian Range, a series of hills in north Wales.

Out of the pain, the only way John knew how to process the situation was to close the curtains and write songs, channelling his emotion into a collection of songs which later became The Fray.

“I was in full crisis management mode," he added.

John’s family are rooted in Romford, but they moved to Devon when he was six-months-old.

He said he listened to an eclectic range of music in his youth, from Bach to Muddy Waters.

But it was when he discovered Nick Drake and John Martin that he knew he wanted to be a folk musician, he revealed.

With the music industry opening up again for gigs again this year, John is looking forward to sharing his music with more audiences.

Speaking about the tour, he added: “I’m there to give people an escape from whatever they have going on in their lives.”

John has released eight albums and, according to his website, his songs have been streamed more than 55 million times on Spotify.

The songwriter, whose first record The Fox and The Monk was released in 2006, uses fingerstyle and slide guitar techniques when performing.

The tour began last week and runs until April 13.

For a full list of dates and venues, visit John's website