Rise & Shine With SIMO Taking Us In A New Direction

Rise & Shine With SIMO Taking Us In A New Direction

Rise & Shine With SIMO
Taking Us In A New Direction

 

 

Rise & Shine With SIMO Taking Us In A New Direction, from the first click of the fingers, a boom of the drum and sonic guitar you are taken to a different place that their previous releases have never been or brave enough to take us.  The previous critically acclaimed album Let Love Show the Way was retro, accessible and familiar. Get ready to be amazed, aurally challenged and delighted on the album that is in two words summed up as Superb Experimental.

This is an album that is personal, spiritual and encompasses lyrics that at times hurt when you take in the message. But we can relate to them we have all travelled to that stony place JD Simo is describing in many of the songs.

Return is a track that absorbs, starkly crafted around a vocal that is strong in its frailty. This is about sinking into yourself without being aware of the effect on other people and reality becomes a stranger. Lyrics fuelled for a blues inspired song. Not this time a contemporary twisted shape with space to consider the sonics and words. Full of funk with a rawness that burns. There are echoes of other musicians Prince, Beck and others; this is SIMO reaching out and creating a new musical pathway of their own. A powerful number that leaves you wondering where has this new style come from? The guitar moans and groans as JD is almost crooning to himself as we just want to enjoy this new sound; learn it understand it and embrace it. So let’s Rise up and listen to a highly original album as JD says ‘Let It Shine’.

They laid down an intriguing gauntlet with the opening track. How to follow that. We are taken to a trance-like state as we join SIMO in the Meditation zone. This is not a silent space, the mysticism is ever present in tone, the awareness of self is absorbed into the driving beat. The beat that ignites your inner happiness and connects to your feet that want to get up and dance.  The album is slippery to grab hold of. It is mercurial, enticing and slightly dangerous, the sonic shape reinvents itself for every track. The tracks are linked together by personal experience, hurt, haunting and anger. They are linked by the authority of JD’s vocals and his guitar just screams and twists around the strings for attention, the deep bass lines of Elad Shapiro,  and crisp impassioned drumming of Adam Abrashoff on the beat shaping the depths of the sonic landscape created on Rise and Shine

We are taken into a slightly wild place with shine, fast curling beats auditory delights are created by a trio that embrace change and experiment without ever losing the strength of melody. JD’s vocals provide a clarion call on Shine.  Space and time continuum changes with I Want love. The sonics fade and the vocals and guitar take the lead role for your attention as JD plaintively sings I Want Love. A soul ballad that grows and grows with every note that is sung as we are taken on a soulful, smoky emotional journey. I Want Love.

All change as The Climb starts with a rock infused predominately instrumental full of shifting multi-hued coloured sands of psychedelia. Vocals are sparse spoken as they quote from JF Kennedy “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit the same planet” becoming another instrument added to the wild experimental mix. Music of darkness and light as we Rise and Shine in the company of SIMO on their aural journey.

The mood changes with the bluesiest number, Light The Candle.  The Sonics are measured and would be recognised as a blues driven sound by Howlin’ Wolf. This is blues for today different full of structure, sharp edges a harshness of modernity delivered by the instruments over the lyrics of JD. The Whoo Hoo of his vocals are straight out of the lexicon of blues sounds, whilst defying like the rest of the album to be captured within one industrial genre.

The album is masterful every track has a sense of purpose and direction. Listen to the whole album the numbers will cascade you into an aural wonderland. A theme park full of sonic adventures. Closing out the album with I Pray. Just over thirteen minutes where you are captivated in the land of SIMO. Starting off with measured, simple sounds and JD intones a prayer. A prayer that is a manifesto of a better more tolerant understanding world where we embrace difference. The track is progressive, full of rock and so much more. Thought provoking. Identifying the oppressed, addicted and those living under tyranny. It covers every issue the world is struggling with from climate change to social ills. The words have a message it is formidable. The music is structured each note and space is there for a reason. What a brilliant close for a brilliant album you want the licks, riffs and rounds of music to go on and on taking to a better place to Rise and Shine.

The sound comes from a trio of musicians that do not want to be contained in retro, repeating what others have done before. They want to produce their best music. Full of interpretations of the sounds the instruments take them as they explore the lyrics. The album had a long gestation as they toured relentlessly throughout 2017 to a point beyond exhaustion they found creativity.  The mutual understanding between the trio of musicians has made Rise and Shine a musical experimentation full of chemistry, harmonies bound in the heart of any song lyrics with something to say. Rise and Shine with SIMO and great a new day with the exciting new direction you will want to travel. Rise and Shine a real contender for my album of 2017. The album can be reviewed in one word EXCEPTIONAL!

Rise & Shine – SIMOProvogue/Mascot Label Group

Out 15th September 2017

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Return
  2. Meditation
  3. Shine
  4. People Say
  5. Don’t Waste Time
  6. I Want Love
  7. The Climb
  8. Light The Candle
  9. Be With You
  10. The Light
  11. I Pray

Rise & Shine With SIMO Taking Us In A New DirectionRise & Shine With SIMO Taking Us In A New DirectionRise & Shine With SIMO Taking Us In A New Direction

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

 

 

BD: Hi JD delighted to have the opportunity to chat with you once again for Bluesdoodles. A year has passed and we have a new album to explore and enjoy Rise and Shine. The follow-up to the acclaimed Let Love Show You The Way. You have certainly gone off on a different journey as we Rise and Shine with SIMO.

JD Simo:  It is always a pleasure to talk with you. On our way to Nashville to Rise & Shine Record release show.

BD: Tell us about the making of Rise and Shine and how the eleven tracks were weaved together as a tour de force?

JD Simo:  Started the concept last year during that ridiculous touring schedule. There was a hint of the direction at the live shows on our last tour especially in the UK. We had so much material and not had time to work on so many songs. The concept came out as we got bored creatively with what we were putting out material wise. We wanted to push the sound by how we view this and push that so we could find a place that felt unfamiliar. That coupled with the determination to be the best we could be through writing and the music. We could have easily gone in and made an album that was familiar. We wanted to craft and make music with a purpose and with a refinement. Using a methodical approach to be the best possible. This takes time and effort and is a bit scary. It is easy to be lazy being tricked by praise and believing what you are telling yourself. That stops creativity.

The nucleus was when we finally got home in January. No shows and a month studio time already blocked off. So we bared down onto the album. It was a lot of hard work. Lots of time spent it was serious and fun definitely not stressful. It was like a good work out working through and feeling good at the end. Every day was a stretch, it took a long time to arrange and work out the songs. How we were going to do it, what the concept was how the track would sound and fit into the album.

Studio time we were there every day with long hours of crafting our music it was good not to have to rush. We had the time to capture a good performance. Sometimes a track took a long time others a lot shorter. It then took two months to mix. Making the album was a marathon rather than a sprint.

Rise and Shine is a piece of work that represents the best of what we are capable of. It feels like our first record.  If it reminds you of other works that is not intentional. In the past it was intentional. Here we said lets deconstruct I am really proud of the result.

 

BD: You have described the sound as Psychedelic Blues, many have fused soul and funk onto the blues base but you have gone one step further for me this is progressive blues, experimental. Why do you describe your music as Psychedelic ?

JD Simo:  What my music ends up being called is terms is meaning less and less to me. It has to be done in the world we live in. It is fun to hear everyone’s take on the music. Everyone has a different take, it is good that they are finding something that resonant.

Psychedelic is another way to say experimental not taking the norm. A lot of elements makes this experimental with different textures and sounds. The record is still Rock n Roll. Trying to push finding inspiring sounds is cool.

 

BD: How did you come up with the jaunty title Rise & Shine almost a pop feel?

JD Simo:  There is a pun in that behind the name is a concept of growth and your inner light/beauty and the ability to convey that. There are miracle themes, spiritual elements. Rising out of whatever you are dealing with. Shine the message is don’t hold it in, it is okay to let your inner self be seen. There were other names considered. In the end we all liked the title it is kind of funny and suited the album..

 

BD: You made the decision to take a month out and producing the album yourself. Did this give you more control combine the feeling of a live show, energy of a jam and the experimental sonic tones all into the same album that makes sense and is never disjointed?

JD Simo:  We had complete control it was incredible. I was astounded that I was given the opportunity, they had faith in me. So I was given the opportunity to see the vision through. We wanted the live energy on each song. They were treated singularly. There were lots of songs that didn’t make it and others were torn apart during pre-production. The aim was that on each song we nailed it, sonically what suited the track. Some link Meditate were laid back, with intense parts felt the track was laid back, not always easy to capture. It was great to have complete control. We took it really seriously there was no messing around.

 

BD: The opening track Return is a sonic assault as you tune in you realise that Return is not return to the same you have gone in a different direction as the band moulds influences from Beck to Prince with deep bass lines, vocals that are beguiling an opening track opening the doors on the new shape of SIMO?

JD Simo:   Once we got to the mixing stage we were fairly methodical as we considered how the album would flow. The choice of opening with Return was to knock you of your balance, a track you would not expect us to do. In the end it felt the best, felt right to start that way.

A lot of thought went into how to sequence the record. We really loved the opening of the record and the rest made sense. Return, was lyrically a good place to start. The songs get more and more persona. They are what JD personally gone through.  Light The Candle starts to gets heavier subject more about the world outside of me and more intense. It was just the way it worked out in the end.

BD: SIMO have been describe your sound as retro but that is for me too easy. Your sound is modern cutting edge how do you manage that?

JD Simo:  Retro is a fair assessment of what we were creating before Rise & Shine. Not indicative of where we are now. We have turned away from retro it is a natural evolution. Where we are getting more genuine and comfortable. It is like not putting on someone else’s cloths. This is what we were doing with the best of intentions before. It is like growing up, at High School you dress like everyone else. You think man I don’t like this shirt I am not going to wear that anymore. Musically it is like that. Retro was a way of exploring a range of influence. Yet we have as many influences that are contemporary, including Alabama Shakes and Wilco we needed to re-group.

BD: Following on from moving on from being Retro, did you use different equipment on Rise and Shine?

JD Simo: Great question. Yes we did use different equipment. Didn’t use anything used on previous albums. It was all stuff I had found myself it was my own equipment. In the past I had used equipment used by people I admire and love used trying to be authentic.

Now I have collected equipment that suits me in fact none of the equipment was used before it was fresh start on Rise & Shine.

BD: The lyrics are often deep, very personal how much have you been influenced by your extensive travels in 2016 and the election of President Trump last November?

JD Simo:  Majority a lot is about me. This is obvious the emotions I have been through and very observational. I was trying to work through stuff I had to deal with myself. I had to face myself.  It is more honest not alluding but very stark, uncomfortable at times to listen to. This was a conscious choice on my part. I know I am a decent musician as a writer I have never forced myself to write as good as I can. It is important to work on writing. It is absolutely the most important thing is the writing. I love writing it helped me to have the confidence to work to be better and better. Focusing as much on writing as being a good musician that is not being neglected though. Just working harder to be as good a writer as I am a good musician. It feels really good.

We had a listening party. A bunch of people came round I felt really uncomfortable, sick to the stomach. It was hard for me to do, listening to the songs. Bringing stuff up not expressed before in front of a group of people. Once I recovered it felt fine through this journey I have become a decent writer I have revealed everything I needed to. Writers like Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan and Neil Young they do that all the time. I am not comparing myself to them but is sets the bar high to aim for that a better job than I have ever done before.

 BD: Will you be touring Europe with this new exciting album?

JD Simo:  Yes, have a three-week tour of Europe mainly Germany, one night Holland, Belgium and London. Just doing shorter tours, can’t do the 5-6 weeks just too draining for us. Early 2018 will be back in Europe more dates UK and some of the other countries missed including France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. 2-3 week tours are so much more enjoyable and we are really looking forward to doing them. In fact some of the best gigs we have played have been in London so looking forward to 26th September at the Borderline.

 

BD:   Last time we finished with what your dream band would be this time – what are you listening to and what SIMO track would you liked covered and by whom?

JD Simo:  Without hesitation JD said – D’Angelo to cover I Want Love. That would be pretty sick, pretty incredible and a huge honour. Mind you it would make me never want to do the song every again.

I am a Spotify junkie, I have playlists of all types of stuff. I really am really love Jeff Tweedy solo record with its Meters influence. Also really digging Lily Mae from Nashville, who is on Jack Whites label Third Man. It is folk/country like Gordon Lightfoot. Classic country she is an incredible musician playing fiddle and guitar. Her vocals are unique at times frail sounding like she is crying.

BD: Thank you for your time and looking forward to hearing the new numbers live very soon.

 

Rise and Shine out on Mascot Label Group – out 15th September 2017 

 

Q&A Session as we Rise and Shine with SIMO

Paul Carrack @ St David’s Hall ~ January 2015

Paul Carrack - St Davids Hall - Jan 2015 - DSC_4838lPaul Carrack
St David’s Hall
22nd January 2015

 

Elliott Morris - St Davids Hall- Cardiff - Jan 2015 - _0008l

Supporting Paul Carrack on the tour is Elliott Morris, a young solo acoustic artist who delivered a stylish set. His voice is powerful and he engaged with the audience with funny tales and setting the context for his songs which were a mix of folk and country tinged with blue. The numbers were self-penned full of clever lyrics, this is a songwriter who understands the power of the story, he has been influenced by Michael Hedges and Eric Roach which shone through with his percussive acoustic guitar playing. He delighted the audience they were charmed and entertained the perfect warm-up act for Paul Carrack, with his charismatic approach as he delivered songs which included Courting For Pleasure and Something’s Got To Give and if you see him playing live locally check amiable Elliott Morris out; he has a new E.P. It Seemed to Make Sense at the Time; release date 2nd March 2015.
Paul Carrack stepped onto the stage with a resounding cheer from a full house who were looking forward to hearing the man once again deliver the music they love whether from his long career from Mike & The Mechanics to Squeeze and beyond including in his latest album Rain or Shine tonight in Cardiff.

Paul Carrick - St Davids Hall- Cardiff - Jan 2015 - _0049lOpening with Satisfy from behind the keys on his Hammond C, Paul and his band captivated the audience and collectively they knew it was going to be a magical and musical carpet ride tonight at St David’s Hall, just the upbeat sound we all needed to hear on a dark January night. Then, picking up his red acoustic, Paul delivered Walk in the Room, with pieces of chatter we were now sitting back in our seats and enjoying the event. One in a Million from his Rain or Shine album was followed by a story inspired by his daughter setting off travelling All That Matters, these little personal insights make the evening so much more than a few songs delivered it is what makes live entertainment real and special. With his six-piece band adding layers of sounds, with guitar, saxophones, keys, bass with the two drummers making different but harmonising into a complimentary percussive beat that never drowns out the vocals. This worked so well on Time Waits For No One with the delightful solo’s adding texture and tone and on the track The Eagles covered Love Will Keep Us Alive. As the songs and music kept rolling through the auditorium the reception grew more excited as they heard or hoped for the numbers special to them from Paul’s extensive discography. It would not matter how many great musicians Paul Carrack had around him it is always about the songs at a Carrack concert and he always delivers with the right emotions and delivering the words so they have their hidden depths revealed. The lighting tonight had the musicians in darkness making them meld into the background creating an atmospheric platform for Paul to perform in the spotlight.
We were all treated to a fantastic rendition of one of my favourite Mike and The Mechanics numbers, Living Years with the added bonus of quality backing vocals. The number the musicians seemed to enjoy playing the most was Make your Mind Up with plenty of instrumental interchange almost creating the feeling of a jam with the keyboard player taking the lead on the vocals and the audience had a chance to participate and they did this with enthusiasm.
Brenda Lee’s; I’m Losing You was showcased tonight with Paul’s unique warm tones adding layers of feeling his vocals sparkle and shimmer it is why people will always return to a Paul Carrack concert seeing him perform live is an event where every emotion is explored but you know you will go home uplifted even if this time your personal favourite is not on the set list. Ending with Life’s Too Short, should be the motivating call for people who love music to get out and see live music whenever they can; because the atmosphere if tonight is a litmus test is electric and energising.

Play List
Satisfy
Walk In The Room
One In A Million
All That Matters
Coffee
Eyes OF Blue
Love Will Keep Us Alive
Time Waits
Tempted
I’m Losing you
You Don’t Know Me
Don’t Dream
Steppin Stone
If I should Fall Behind
I Think It’s Gonna Rain
Living Years
When My Little Girl
Make Your Mind Up
How Long
Encore
Shoulder
Life’s Too Short