Released by: Provogue/Mascot Label Group
Release date: 29th January 2016
Genre: BLUES ROCK
JD Simo – Guitar
Elad Shapiro – Bass
Adam Abrashoff – Drums
01. Stranger Blues
02. Two Timin’ Woman
03. Can’t Say Her Name
04. I Lied
06. Long May You Sail
07. I’ll Always Be Around
08. Becky’s Last Occupation
09. I’d Rather Die in Vain
10. Today I Am Here
11. Let Love Show The Way
12. Ain’t Doin’ Nothin’
13. Please Be With Me
Joe Bonamassa has been quoted as saying “JD Simo is one of the best out there” and after giving this album a listen or two, I would say he isn’t far wrong. Simo, who grew up in Chicago, began playing guitar aged 5, had formed a band by 15 and has spent years touring solo as well as with various bands – awarding him an undeniable wealth of experience.
The opener is a cover of Elmore James’ classic “Stranger Blues” which Simo has given a fervent, slightly upbeat, edge to. The guitar on this track is simply superb and sets the tone for what’s on offer throughout.
The most original sounding track on offer here, “Long may you sail” is set in motion in a soft, classic rock style yet features a bit of slide towards the end before the sound crescendos and the guitar morphs into an energised blues riff.
“I’ll always be around” commences with an impressive bit of slide guitar and then gathers pace slightly before spanning out into a classic soulful bluesy ballad comparative in style to The Allman Brothers. Although short in duration, “Today I am Here” is a beautiful acoustic instrumental, it sounds mellow in comparison to other tracks yet demonstrates depth and feeling enormously.
The penultimate track Aint’ Doin’ Nothin’ is the absolute highlight for me. 14 minutes in length, the guitar is teasing in places to begin with before launching into what can only be described as a complete jamming frenzy which sounds like its spiralling exquisitely out of control. This is another instrumental piece – and it needs no words, the guitar is doing the talking here and I’m liking what its saying. The demonstration of Simos’ ability, experience and passion for guitar are highlighted here and the result is nothing less than mind blowing.
“Please be with me” brings the album to a gentle conclusion. Another cover version, this song was originally performed by the band Cowboy, along with Duane Allman and is in a country/blues style.
Cut entirely live in full, with Simo playing Duane Allman’s 1957 gold top Gibson Les Paul on every track, this album is rough around the edges, which in my opinion, only adds to its brilliance. Alongside JD Simo – Elad Shapiro on Bass and Adam Abrashoff on Drums are a seriously tight unit. This production was the first ever recorded at Macon Georgia’s Big House which was the communal home of the Allman Brothers Band at the height of their success. A fitting setting, which has no doubt provided inspiration for all involved.
A high calibre creation of raw blues and rock, this release is ALL about the guitar and is an exceptional display of flair and aptitude that is sure to be well received by enthusiasts of this genre.
Written by: Karen Hetherington
Ratings: Karen 10/10