Nashville based guitar and vocalists are a dime a dozen, but some are worth a bit more currency. Spotlight onto JD Simo. His honest, raw take on the tried and tested blues-rock formula certainly hits home with me. I grew up surrounding myself with blues so JD’s fresh take on this is a warm, welcoming hug coupled with a punch in the guts… I love it!


‘Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights’ kicks off proceedings with a wall of fuzzy guitars and tasty licks. I’m feeling elements of the chaotic nature of Buddy Guy coupled with the rock sensibilities of more modern blues torchbearers such as Gary Clark Jr. The lick around the one minute mark even makes me think of a late 60s Cream era Eric Clapton throwing some woody sounding licks over the Disraeli Gears album.


‘Off at 11’ brings a more mellow, jazzy edged shuffle but I can’t help but feel something is going to explode out of the speakers at any moment. Oh and here it comes, the wah soaked licks. Simo is making that guitar scream and shout. This track takes me from Albert King to Jimi Hendrix via a sea of psychedelic madness.


‘You Need Love’ picks the pace up again with a heavy, gritty stomp. The groove is heavy here and the guitar licks are flying. Simo has taken everything good about the 60s and 70s, coupled it with classic blues, put it in a blender and delivered it with his own fuzzy stamp. His vocals in this track certainly remind me of another of my favourite Nashville based singers, Noah Hunt from the Kenny Wayne Shepherd band. Perhaps there is something in the water that makes these Nashville singers phrase their vocals in that magic way.


‘I Got Love If You Want It’ takes the listener back to the early days of blues. We’re heading to the Delta on a freight train and we ain’t getting off ‘til we reach the Mississippi. JD shows that he’s not only someone who can take the formula and bring it to modern day, but he can also hang with the old guard and make his guitar sing like the best of the best.


Sometimes, well, anytime you play the blues, you have to get a little moody. ‘Temptation has a stunning, crisp guitar intro that has the hallmark of the Texas greats swimming in an ethereal reverb sea. This could be my favourite track off the album, though with such strong competition it’s hard to pick just one. As with all great down tempo songs, it’s only right to explode into a crescendo of power and madness at the end of the track.


‘Mind Trouble’ brings a southern stomp. This is music to drink whiskey and tap your foot along to. JD might have Mind Trouble according to the lyrics but he certainly doesn’t suffer from song writing troubles. This song is so swampy that you can almost taste the frogs on the bayou. It’s exciting to hear a very traditional blues style track with fuzzy guitars and acoustic solos.


It takes balls to cover BB King. After all, he is the King. But damn, JD has balls and he pulls off this fantastic rendition of ‘Sweet Little Angel’. From the moment he hits those first notes through to the end of the track, he is channeling his inner BB King. Always adopting the less is more approach when it comes to lead guitar in this track, he makes the guitar sing and moan with conviction with no note being played without a purpose.


The albums closing track is a Sixteen minute forty-seven second monolith titled ‘Accept’. While I don’t think this jam fest will be getting any airplay on the BBC due to it falling (only just) outside of their 3 minute and 30 seconds rule, who cares. JD and his band take you through scenes and movements through blues, fuzzy rock, mind-bending psychedelia and jazz. Strap in, you’re in for a ride! Sure, it’s long, but when you can play that good who cares? This man is on fire!

Author: Leigh Fuge

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