Simo – Let Love Show The Way

SIMO-band_RingMaster Review

Though their new album is our introduction to Simo, it is noticeable that the striking craft and potent tones of vocalist/guitarist JD Simo seem to be the main focus of attention with a great many. As proven by the compelling Love Show The Way, the Nashville based band is so much more though. From the magnetically roving bass grooves of Elad Shapiro and the tenacious enterprise of drummer Adam Abrashoff to the evocative songwriting and its fiery realisation, Simo is one potent unit made up of creatively integral parts.

It is fair to say though that JD Simo, a musician begging his parents for a guitar at the age of five and regularly playing bars backed by older musicians by 10 years old, is a mighty lure to the Joe Bonamassa favourite’s fusion of blues, southern rock, and classic R&B with jazz fuelled enterprise. The background to Let Love Show The Way is in itself as alluring also. Recorded at Macon, Georgia’s Big House, the communal home of the Allman Brothers Band during their late sixties/early seventies heyday, what we hear in ears was not the proposition planned for the first album to be recoded at the famous site. Heading into the recording, Simo has a whole different set of tracks primed for the release with the visit primarily to record a couple of bonus tracks for the album. With engineer Nick Worley involved too, band and passion “caught fire” in the inspirational surroundings with a dozen tracks being burnt down in less than 48 hours; songs spawned with raw and electrifying intensity that inspired the band to change direction and go with what organically grew there and then. JD himself summed up the moment, “As the producer of the project, I couldn’t live with myself if we didn’t use these songs, I just felt it was better than anything the band had ever captured so we decided to scrap the original record and build this new one around everything we recorded at the Big House.

SIMO_RingMaster ReviewWith each track recorded live in complete takes and without any edits, Let Love Show the Way quickly grips attention with opener Stranger Blues, a cover of the Elmore James classic. Shimmering into view, the song is soon eagerly dancing in ears, riffs and rhythms a feisty shuffle whilst grooves as good as flirt from Duane Allman’s 1957 gold-top Les Paul which JD played on every song within the album. It is a sizzling lure of a start which only strengthens as Two Timin’ Woman offers its own bluesy flame guided by the enjoyably unpredictable and dynamic rhythms of Abrashoff as well as the dark tempting of Shapiro’s bass.

An even rawer edge lines the scuzzy lure of Can’t Say Her Name next whilst I Lied has a rough psych rock air to its grouchily infectious proposal; both tracks riveting weaves of vocal prowess and heart linked to skittish rhythms and slightly antagonistic riffs bound in searing tendrils of blues imagination. The second of the pair is especially flavoursome and irresistibly imposing before the lovely and mischievous rock ‘n’ roll of Please has body and emotions stomping around like a teen with its catchy slice of blues rock.

The Celtic spiced Long May You Sail is another instantly stirring the imagination with its adventurously individual escapade whilst I’ll Always Be Around sighs, pulsates, and rumbles with magnetic southern blues melancholy before Becky’s Last Occupation writhes and swings within its groove infested fire to re-ignite the physical side of the body after its emotion feeding predecessor. Each of the trio creates tapestries of chaotic adventure and surprising twists which sublimely and dynamically unite for inescapable temptation.

The heated sounds keep ears fired up as I’d Rather Die In Vain explores a jazz lined web of sonic imagination and experimental invention matched by a dynamic rhythmic punch. The track is a glorious off-kilter incitement leaving the senses and imagination enflamed and then gentle seduced by the acoustic instrumental grace of Today I Am Here.

With a great trio of bonus tracks in the outstanding Let Love Show The Way, the fiercely sultry Ain’t Doin’ Nothin’, and the provocatively crooning Please Be With Me completing the CD and digital versions of the album, Let Love Show The Way leaves enjoyment eagerly flowing. As Simo lives up to all the potent praise and declarations heard before music touched ears, theirs is an album with the inclination to please any rock ‘n’ roll fan let alone those with an appetite for the blues,

Let Love Show The Way is released January 29th via Provogue Records/ Mascot Label Group @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/simo-letloveshowtheway-cd.html

http://www.simo.fm/   https://www.facebook.com/simotheband

Pete RingMaster 29/01/2016

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Robben Ford – Into The Sun

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With over 35 albums under his belt, attention has to be given when Californian guitarist Robben Ford describes his new release as “one of the top recordings I’ve ever done.” It is a statement potently backed up by Into The Sun, a collection of songs entangled in flavours such as blues, rock ‘n’ roll, rock pop, and jazz. The album reveals a fresh diversity to Ford’s songwriting and musical adventure, taking the established potent essences of his renowned prowess into new feel good exploits. Most of all though Into The Sun is simply fun; inventive and as expected technically and creatively superb but most of all it is sheer enjoyment.

With a host of guests across the release, the Provogue Records album opens up with Rose Of Sharon, and an immediate sonic caress across a blues bred gait with slowly strolling rhythms to match. Keys and vocals quickly add to the smouldering tempting of ears and imagination, Ford quickly immersing the listener in the landscape and reflective heart of the song through voice and his already beguiling guitar enterprise. The track is a charming smooch of a song, an evocative sunrise to the album which shines with a brighter smile through Day Of The Planets. There is a great sixties breath to the second song, a rock pop essence with R&B spicing which soon has ears firmly enticed and appetite awake, whilst its classic nostalgic hooks just seals the deal .

     Howlin’ At The Moon brings a dusty blues snarl to its sultry presence, capturing the imagination in a new adventure, whilst the following Rainbow Cover strolls into a creatively scenic rock pop exploit with landmarks as expected sculpted by the resourceful fingers and strings of Ford. Both tracks ignite the senses but are shaded by the excellent Justified featuring with Keb’ Mo’ and pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph. The track has a gorgeous nostalgic feel to its otherwise vibrant character, a blues tone from decades past bringing rich hues to the mix of vocals and piano led sounds. Harmonies add further flaming whilst the craft of Randolph is a shimmering seduction amidst the excellent proposition.

The magnetic Breath Of Me with ZZ Ward comes next, the twining of Ford and Ward’s vocals alone worth the admission price whilst High Heels And Throwin’ Things which finds Gov’t Mule and Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes guesting, has one of those inventive shuffles and fiery landscapes which even in its subdued air has ears and thoughts gripped. Great vocals and the ever sweltering adventure of guitars has one virtually reaching to wipe a bead of perspiration from the brow such the thick exotic climate of the song, whilst across the album the melodic heat conjured more than lives up to its title.

A delicious heavy and lusty bassline marks out next up The Cause Of War first of all, it’s dark lure perfectly backed by firmly swung rhythms, a rich weave of simmering keys, and the contagiously diverse mesh of guitar textures and enterprise. The track takes favourite song honours, though it is constantly challenged as shown by the captivating So Long 4 U and its quaint stroll of keys. The track needs little time to seduce ears, especially when you add six-string slide legend Sonny Landreth to the line-up, though if I am honest it is that vintage twang of the keys which lights the biggest emotions.

The album comes to a close through firstly the spicy adventure of Same Train and finally the heavily enticing Stone Cold Heaven which features Southern rock musician Tyler Bryant. The song is ablaze with guitar craft and vivacity, bringing a fine album a potent finale.

Into The Sun shows a different aspect and direction to the Robben Ford sound in many ways but has all the heart and glowing essences of his sound, and of course all the technical majesty. For full enjoyment though…do play loud!

Into The Sun is out now via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/robbenford-intothesun.html

https://www.facebook.com/RobbenFordOfficial   http://robbenford.com/

RingMaster 26/04/2015

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