Crows Feet (label)
10 March 2019 (released)
10 March 2019
A few years ago I found myself in the St Moritz club in Wardour Street taking at length to a very excited and enthusiastic young man who was in London for the first time and in awe at all the historical Blues venues that had been within a hundred yards of where we were sitting. It was very clear that he had great respect for the history of Blues/Rock and happily dropped names like Mayall, Hendrix, Rory Gallagher et all as his heroes.
The next night I saw him with his band, Simo, playing support to a reinvigorated Walter Trout (post liver transplant) and blowing the crowd away with some electrifying psychedelic Blues.
So getting this album and going through it a few times (to be honest more for pleasure than anything else) I am clearly seeing where J D Simo is coming from and it is a good place.
Right from the off with Stan Lewis’ ‘Boom Boom Out Go The Lights’ his guitar peals like a banshee and his growled vocals have more than a touch of Morrison about them. Adam Abrashoff (drums) and Luke Esterling (bass) back him up brilliantly but there is no question that this is JD Simo’s album.
The title track follows and for a moment I thought I was listening to a stripped down Allman Brothers ‘Whipping Post’ but his guitar goes in directions that make it something completely different, moving towards psych and with a free range that is far more Grateful Dead than Allman Brothers.
Every track has echoes of the heroes of Blues but there is no slavish copying of the greats, just homages to them in fresh and lively music that just grabs the listener and spins their head around.
When he slows it down on a track such as ‘Temptation’ the guitar peals and his vocal softens, adding a sense of soul ti the music but when he stretches out, as he does with B. B. King’s ‘Sweet Little Angel’, he draws you in to his guitar plying until all you can feel is the vibration of the strings and the soul that drips off every note.
Make no mistake, this 'kid' has some great chops.
His music is a great place to be with on a Sunday night and he brings in mind all those great little sweatshops like the 100 Club, Marquee, Torrington with the crowds packed in like sardines, stewing in their own juices and marvelling at some great Blues being torn out before their eyes.