Rockin The Blues From Mascot Label Group

Rockin The Blues From Mascot Label Group

Rockin The Blues From Mascot Label Group

The album does exactly what it says in the title. Nothing cryptic in the packaging Mascot Label Group have on this compilation album pulled together a selection of fine purveyors of blues that rocks.

Fourteen tracks that Wow you from the first note to the last. This is a sampler that you want to return to. Each track is a perfect reason to buy the complete album to add to your rocking blues treasures. The album is a rich seam hewed out of the vaults at Mascot Label Group. The names are a mix of established stars and up and coming players and then the addition of special guests bring their own brilliance to the music.

Opening with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Diamonds and Gold the quality if the album is set down. Bluesdoodles has reviewed all the albums that the songs have been selected from. We then hear from young guitar slinger who is stepping on the Midnight Highway, Quinn Sullivan delivers traditional with a youthful verve a sound that is full of potential as it grows and develops. Whereas, Eric Gales is now back in the Middle of The Road and reacquainting his fans with his blues that are deep with soulful rhythm. Been So Long with its curling guitar and lyrics of regrets this is a blues number full of feeling as experiences are considered.

We’re All In This Together is a celebration of guitar that hits the sweet spot as Joe Bonamassa joins Walter Trout. A classy number that drives the rhythm and the vocals hit home as Joe and Walter trade words. This is a classic. Now for a shot of feminine power and mystery as Beth Hart sings Love is A Lie. The number drags you across the floor and fills your belly with fire. Beth’s voice is sultry, inviting and full of majesty with its dark undercurrents.

Dust & Bones is the title selected to highlight Gary Hoey. There is nothing dusty and the guitar and vocals put layers of delicious musical flesh on the bones of the rocking rhythm captured by the band. You are so fortunate if this is the first introduction to Lance Lopez. Mr Lucky is full of strength. To play and sing like this has nothing to do with luck. It is about talent, practice and honing your skills so that I sounds like playing with this verve is as easy as one –two –three… Lopez achieves that and more on this excellent track.

Now People Say – blues is all the same. Rock just spices it up a bit. How wrong are they? Now we have SIMO from Rise & Shine album. This is exceptional music, experimental exciting and taking us in a new direction that you definitely want to dip your musical ears in. How do you follow that! Bring it down sooth the soul with Wade Waist Deep from Thomas Wynn And The Believers. Olivia, Thomas’s sister adds a purity shaping the harmonies giving the compilation another deep dimension. This is the title track from the album with hypnotic drums and guitar that weeps full of tonal texture a country is woven into rockin blues.

Now we turn the corner and take a different west coast sun-soaked approach L.O.V.E. from Californisoul makes you smile as blues goes supersonic. This is the track from the album that captures the essence of the Supersonic Blues Machine. Now Stronger Together from Jonny Lang’s Signs album signals that we are back on the main highway of guitar/vocal led Rockin Blues. The album is taking us up the highways and byways of modern Blues/Rock. May not always be for the purist but that sounds for me have a freshness and the artists have an inner zeal to play music that they connect to.

With Sonny Landreth Live at Lafayette, we leave the studio and capture Blues Attack in a club. Zydeco pours from the speakers and your feet immediately tap you want to get up clap your hands and dance with Landreth. Blues-tinged with Louisiana spice and it is definitely attacking your senses for all the right reasons. Now the sound deepens with a track from Black Stone Cherry –  Black to Blue EP where they explore six covers one of which is Champagne & Reefer. The band are exploring their roots and they stomp out this classic from Muddy Waters. This is a faster louder more raucous version that gets you loving the classics again.

The closing number, the title track of Ronnie Baker Brooks latest album brings in another dimension as he captures Memphis influenced stinging blues guitar with an ultra-modern hip-hop from guest Al Kapone. Proving that Rockin’ The Blues is not trapped in heritage, theme park mode as you listen to this and the other thirteen tracks this is contemporary music. Lyrics with something to say about today. This is music that moves you.

Yet, the album does have a place in my collection. Having listened to the album not once or twice but often, it has become what do I fancy listening too? I know Rockin’ The Blues will entertain, provide variation and above all every number is a winner in its own right. We have title tracks, favourite tracks, those moments that capture the essence of a guitarist or singer moved and shaped by the blues.

Sometimes, compilation albums let you own. They do not have a sense of purpose. Rockin’ The Blues purpose is simple. A collection of tracks that mixes the breadth and depth of blues that rocks.

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Various – Rockin The Blues – Mascot Label Group

Track Listing

  1. Diamonds & Gold – Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Lay It On Down)
  2. Midnight Highway – Quinn Sullivan (Midnight Highway)
  3. Been So Long – Eric Gales (Middle of The Road)
  4. We’re All In This Together – Walter Trout (Feat. Joe Bonamassa) (We’re All In This Together)
  5. Love Is A Lie – Beth Hart (Fire on the Floor)
  6. Dust & Bones – Gary Hoey  (Dust & Bones)
  7. Mr Lucky – Lance Lopez (Tell The Truth)
  8. People Say – SIMO (Rise & Shine)
  9. Wade Waist Deep – Thomas Wynn And The Believers  (Wade Waist Deep)
  10. L.O.V.E. – Supersonic Blues Machine (Californisoul)
  11. Stranger Together- Jonny Lang (Signs)
  12. Blues Attack (Live) – Sonny Landreth (Live in Lafayette)
  13. Champagne & Reefer – Black Stone Cherry (Black To Blue)
  14. Times Have Changed – Ronnie Baker Brooks (Feat. Al Kapone) (Times Have Changed)

The Mascot Label Group is home to some of the worlds’ finest modern Blues artists and the Label are thrilled to announce their first Rockin’ The Blues 2018 Tour featuring the exceptional talents of Eric Gales, Quinn Sullivan and Gary Hoey for a triple guitar hero extravaganza.

The tour will be calling through Germany, The Netherlands and the UK and will see each artist headline on the revolving line up with them all coming together for a final jam. It will also give the audience the chance to get up close and personal to meet the artists, to get their personal items signed, and also take part in a guitar clinic where fans will get the opportunity to ask the artists for tips, techniques and what makes them tick.





Advent Day 18 What Bluesdoodles Talked about in 2017

Advent Day 18 What Bluesdoodles Talked about in 2017

Throughout 2017 Bluesdoodles has had the opportunity to talk to some wonderful musicians. Adding to the excitement We now have Wes O’Neill who will continue throughout out 2018 bringing you insightful interviews; Liz will be adding some as well. Bluesdoodles giving you an inside view of the artists we love to hear play live and recorded. Everyone at Bluesdoodles thanks, to the PR and Record Companies and most of all our gratitude to all the artists for their valuable time and willingness to answer the questions.
Bluesdoodles discussed, new albums, debut Albums, first Headliner Tour and what makes a great song.  Explore the thirty conversations, listen and buy the music and see artist live where and whenever possible

Now to explore our conversations 2017!

Alastair Greene

Chantel McGregor

Jack J. Hutchinson

Dan Reed – Dan Reed Network

Fabrizio Grossie – Supersonic Blues Machine

Brian Downey – Alive and Dangerous

Stevie Westwood – Bad Touch

JW Jones

Mollie Marriott

Rebecca Downes


Erja Lytinnen

Five Bands talking about UK Blues Challenge (LaVendore Rogue – Elles BaileyRobert J HunterZoe Schwarz Blue CommotionRainbreakers)

Alan Nimmo – King King

A Thousand Horses

Ray Dorsett – Aka Mungo Jerry

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Feargal Sharkey

Sonny Landreth

Jared James Nichols

Wilko Johnson

Dan Patlansky

Sari Schorr

Ash Wilson

Husky Tones

Ronnie Baker Brooks

Danny Core – The Broken Witt Rebels









ADVENT Mascot More Than A Glorious Dozen

ADVENT Mascot More Than A Glorious Dozen

ADVENT Mascot More Than A Glorious Dozen

Mascot Label Group once again building on the amazing year of 2016. Throughout 2017 from January to December the label keeps delivering albums from Artists & Bands Rocking the blues and more they excite the listening ear.


Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa


Beth Hart


Beth Hart Vocal Power Captivates The Forum Tonight

Beth Hart’s music stripped back, with the lyrics laid bare was an emotional journey for everyone tears were shed on stage and in the auditorium tonight. This is music that connects a great performer with the audience.


Beth Hart – back with her band touring the UK in 2018 check out Dates HERE



Joe Bonamassa


“The album, where nothing is overdone, acoustic authenticity maintained, Joe’s vocals the best I have heard. No theatrics,  music and the power of lyrics telling the story in perfect harmony”. Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album Live At Carnegie Hall HERE

2018 UK our Dates HERE


Aaron Keylock

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE


Big Boy Bloater

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE

Live at The Louisiana Bristol HERE

Bootsy Collins


Black Country Communion


Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE

Black Stone Cherry

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE


Eric Gales

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE

Live Review The Robin 2 Bilston HERE


Jonny Lang

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE


Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE

Live Review Tramshed Cardiff HERE

What we talked about when Bluesdoodles, Liz Aiken chatted to Kenny Wayne Shepherd? Check the conversation out HERE

Galactic Cowboys


Quinn Sullivan

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE


Little Hurricane


Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE


Rock Candy Funk Party


Ronnie Baker Brooks

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE

What we talked about when Bluesdoodles, Liz Aiken chatted to Ronnie Baker Brooks? Check the conversation out HERE

Sonny Landreth


Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE

What we talked about when Bluesdoodles, Liz Aiken chatted to Sonny Landreth? Check the conversation out HERE


Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE

What we talked about when Bluesdoodles, Liz Aiken chatted to JD Simo? Check the conversation out HERE


Supersonic Blues Machine

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE

What we talked about when Bluesdoodles, Liz Aiken chatted to Fabrizio Grossi? Check the conversation out HERE


Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE


Thomas Wynn & The Believers

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE


Walter Trout

Full Bluesdoodles Review of the Album HERE

Live Review Muni, Pontypridd HERE

10 Years


Thank you, Mascot for the music Bluesdoodles is positive 2018 will continue to be fun with Mascot Label Group


ADVENT Mascot More Than A Glorious Dozen




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

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album




Watch the video for People Say here


Nashville trio SIMO widen their sound with slow-smoked soul ballads, psychedelic desert-rock instrumentals, hard-edged, bluesy barn burners and Stax-worthy funk rockers.

“Phenomenal” The Independent

Simo’s future looks so bright that the trio needs shades” Classic Rock

“Raw and brimming with Mojo” Guitar & Bass

“An incendiary talent” Powerplay

Bluesdoodles  talked to SIMO last year We asked about follow-up album to Let Love Show The Way. JD said “We have started work on next record actually started several months ago. We are doing the album in little phases. This is a different approach from previously and will be a different type of album putting it together over long period of time. We are about a quarter way through the process”.   Read More…..

Rise & Shine took shape as they toured throughout 2016 playing 215 show. The trio on stage are a firework display of energy and musical style lead by  frontman JD Simo; drummer Adam Abrashoff; and bassist Elad Shapiro. Touring across nine countries was inspirational SIMO hashing out chord changes in hotel rooms and tweaking song arrangements during soundcheck. It was a time of growth and self-improvement for everyone, and they became better friends, better musicians, and better people. At the same time, the outside world was changing. Political pundits were screaming at one another. Elections were pitting candidate against candidate, party against party, neighbour against neighbour. The need to write music that truly meant something — music that not only demonstrated the band’s explosive chops, but also sent a clear message — was greater than ever.

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album blurs the lines across genres as they look to future understanding the past influences whilst creating new contemporary sound. “If you go through my record collection and look at the more contemporary titles,” JD explains, “you’ll see the Roots, Wilco, Alabama Shakes, and Ryan Adams. I listen to a lot of old soul music, too. Isaac Hayes. Funkadelic. Bob Dylan. On Rise & Shine, I was just trying to cull from the vastness that is my normal music diet, and not trying to pander to some target that was easy to hit.”

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album was slowly  recorded working long hours moving at their own deliberate pace. “There was a lot more sonic experimentation going on,” remembers Adam. “Every track has a different sonic imprint,” JD adds. “We took great care to make each track’s sonic identity match the mood of the song. Even though that meant starting from scratch every day with how the studio was setup.”

A former session guitarist who’s played on nearly 500 albums, JD didn’t take Rise & Shine’s lengthy creation process for granted. “I’ve never worked on a record that took this long to record,” he adds. “I was so grateful to have that opportunity.”

Rise and Shine with SIMO Forthcoming Album is the band’s most expansive album to date — the work of a band at its curious, adventurous peak.



Pre-order Rise & Shine HERE

Roadstars hit The Tunnels Tonight

Roadstars hit The Tunnels Tonight


Roadstars hit The Tunnels Tonight

Tonight we caught up with the Planet Rock Roadstars, at The Tunnels in Bristol having seen them in Cardiff earlier on the sixteen-night tour. What changes tonight? First off the running order tonight SIMO, Aaron KeylockFederal Charm closing out the night.

SIMO are a trio fusing music from every genre into a river of guitar magic and have hints of Cream flavoured with Zappa and their own unique rock music. Tonight opening there was a plan, less of a jam as they showcased new songs and with a short set the opening track Don’t Waste Time was particularly pertinent. The trio have power, control inventive licks and riffs and an intuitive understanding of where they are taking the music. Drummer Adan Abrashoff has magic sticks reminiscent of Chad Wackerman technical and full of interest. The link that holds the band in shape with bass playing that is deep and rich is Elad Shapiro. The focus of many eyes is on JD Simo his guitar playing is mesmerising, energetic, full of details and little licks that curl around the rhythm section. This is a band that warms the room with Light The Candle and the spectacular Shine. This number really did shine with all the glories that are SIMO. The set tonight closed with Long May You Sail, the only number tonight from their current album Let Love Show The Way. Yes SIMO is definitely a band you want to sail on the crest of a wave with.

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Up next, loud, electric young gun Aaron Keylock and his band. Tonight’s outing was still loud, fast and furious but I have to say there was more control in the performance. The sound was better and the vocals were present tonight. This is a power trio with rock energy bassist Jordan Maycock adds depth to the sound as the drummer Sonny Greaves completes the trio. As we await their forthcoming debut album due out January 2017, Against The Grain it is the live experience that is building this young band’s platform. The trio appear to be going down rock’s path, yet Aaron with his love of the blues needs to incorporate the control of blues into his live show. This was seen in Medicine Man and then Spin The Bottle has a chorus that excites audiences. Aaron with his raw potential will definitely be taking fans on an interesting journey will the road be rocky or blues? We wait with anticipation.

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Finishing of tonight’s instalment of the Roadstars tour are Mancunian band Federal Charm much to the delight of the fans in the room. With the revolving order there were some disappointed as they would have liked to have heard SIMO ending the evening as they were the new band for many and are definitely exciting audiences wherever they play. This quartet with the two guitars up front of vocalist Nick Bowden & Paul Bowes as they interpret the blues with energy and charm. Occasionally it is hard to determine who is playing lead and rhythm as they meld the tone into the Federal sound. Completing the foursome are bassist LD Morawski and drummer Danny Rigg who do so much more than provide a solid platform. Federal Charm bringing a swagger to the music and always a delight whenever they play loud. It would be great if they could add some extra to the tracks from recordings so that the live version of numbers like Guess What have a bit extra pizazz. This would add excitement and a hint of danger to the live set that once again won them fans. Closing once again with Silhouette, the single from their much-praised album Crossing The Divide, they delivered and satisfied the crowd tonight.

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Roadstars hit The Tunnels Tonight leaving behind a night of live music ringing in our ears as they pack up and move onto the next show on the road. Check out the tour dates and venues HERE.


Roadstars hit The Tunnels Tonight

Roadstars Hit Cardiff SIMO Keylock and Federal Charm

Roadstars Hit Cardiff SIMO Keylock and Federal Charm

Roadstars Hit Cardiff
SIMO Keylock and Federal Charm

The Globe, Cardiff, cold damp November night is just about to get hot with blues-rock guitar shredding that will ignite the audience.  Why? On the third night of  The  Planet Rock ‘Roadstars’  sixteen-night tour  has arrived in the Capital city. The Roadstars are young guns that are  causing heads to turn wherever they play  with youthful verve and enthusiasm. Who are the Roadstars? They are two British bands Aaron Keylock and Federal Charm and from Nashville, U.S.A. SIMO. Tonight we are definitely going to hear a lot of guitars that have strings that will be fast, furious and loud with a long streamer connecting the six-strings to the Blues. This is a trio of bands who are taking turns on who will headline, and tonight it will be SIMO.

Roadstars Hit Cardiff SIMO Keylock and Federal CharmThe evening kicked off by being exported  back to the roots of the blues with field hollers loud and atmospheric from the PA system. Tonight, Aaron Keylock was opening the show. This young band with the much talked about guitarist who has played many gigs and festivals that for a teenager is amazing the rhetoric about his skills is stratospheric so my expectations were very high. As for a variety of reasons, Bluesdoodles has not caught up with Aaron playing live.  Completing the power trio drummer Sonny Greaves and bassist Jordan Maycock. I was expecting fireworks as the blues influences combine with the rock as sabbath collides with Winter. One thing for sure the guitar was loud drowning out the vocals so I never heard a word Aaron sang even on his closing number the title track, Against The Grain,  from his anticipated debut album due out January 2017 on Mascot.

Roadstars Hit Cardiff SIMO Keylock and Federal CharmThe set was loud, raw Aaron, for me did not live up to the press I have read and comments from others who have seen him live. With power you need control and the blues is about feel and tonight these were not evident. The set was more rock than blues, enthusiasm over style. Aaron changed guitar but textures and tone stayed the same loud and raw. He is like moonshine straight from the still, we need to have some of the oaky smokiness, smoothness of flavour from maturing that a good sipping whisky has. Aaron, has the potential, he can play the guitar and interaction between the three friends on stage is honest. Opening with a shorter set perhaps didn’t allow for a set that shows the varied side of this young man with so much potential.  The slide guide was good and the lead breaks solid but there was no flashing and sparks to really light up the evening.

raodstars-federal-charm-wm-2278Short break and Federal Charm hit the stage with a customary energy and smiles as they said we are glad to be back in Cardiff. With full on Mancunian charm they hit the ground running. They too chose to close with Silhouette, the single from the much-praised album Crossing The Divide. Federal Charm produced as strong set the brand of blues rock is delivered better everytime we see them play live.  The two guitars, of Paul Bowe and Nick Bowden sometimes in competition but always in harmony. Completing this tech quartet are bassist LD Morawski and drummer Danny Rigg who do so much more than provide a solid platform they bring tonal shape and control for raodstars-federal-charm-wm-2269the frontman allowing Nicks vocals to roll and bounce off the music. Federal Charm’s set was full of attitude and at times an arrogant swagger giving the music a hardened edge softened by the blues. The set warmed the venue lifting the audience as they got them closer to the stage singing along and dancing. Nick engaged with the audience who were delighted to have the boys back in town even if for a brief set tonight. The music was played with authority as the rock grooves were as solid as granite with a sparkling strata of blues as the harp was given an airing and the licks and riffs had the shape and feel that is the perfect recipe for a blues-rock band.

Now for the main act SIMO a trio fusing music from every genre into a fluid psychedelic whirlpool that lit up the stage. Keeping up with virtuoso guitarist JD Simo are bassist Elad Shapiro and Adam Abrashoff on drums, they provide rhythms that explode allowing JD to fly with sparkling effervescent guitar fireworks.

raodstars-simo-wm-2300The music flowed, no set list this was a hothouse jam full of control, innovation and excitement as slide,  met finger picking and the playing of the fret board with both hands was mesmerising. Defining SIMO is like trying to capture mercury in you fingers, you just think one band and the music changes and it is totally different as jazz collides with Hendrix and the Allmans are threaded into the mix. The sound is a musical tapestry of every hue and colour, The vocals powered through it was a perfect aural picture. You see and hear musician and guitar, musicians who excel JD and his band are merged into one being and the connection is complete,  seamless as he astounds with rock n roll that has you listening with delight.  Into this maelstrom,  I heard hints of Tom Principato, Stevie Ray Vaughan stretching the blues colouring the tones with funk and world music. The set had everything, fast and furious, complex, simple and slower numbers this was a jam that was very, very tasty indeed.

The set was everything they promised on the album Let Love Show The Way; and the audience agreed with gasps of wow, utterly brilliant never heard seen anything like this they are stunning.  closing the set that was like a river at times still, raodstars-simo-wm-2407then a raging torrent then a gentler flow with the only cover of the set their unique interpretation of With A Little Help From My Friends. SIMO certainly made new friends tonight who will be spreading the message to their friends as they tell them what a night they have missed.

With three nights gone, there is still plenty of opportunities to hear these Roadstars live and make your own mind up.

Tour details  HERE


Roadstars Hit Cardiff SIMO Keylock and Federal Charm



Aaron Keylock with all The Right Moves

Aaron Keylock with all The Right Moves

Today, teenage guitar legend Aaron Keylock has released an audio stream of his new single ‘All The Right Moves’ on YouTube

Talking about the album Aaron reflects;  “Against the Grain was penned about 3 years ago now and has grown on the road; I had a Led Zeppelin style riff, mixed it with some Johnny Winter vibe and stamped my own style on it.”  Crowd favourite Medicine Man was the first song he ever demoed whilst the hints of Rory Gallagher on All The Right Moves is a lightning rocker that’s fast becoming a live favourite.

The song features on his upcoming debut album ‘Cut Against The Grain’, which is released on Friday 20th January 2017 by Mascot Label Group. Things have been building momentum and in Cut Against The Grain, Aaron Keylock is set to launch himself on the world full throttle.

Aaron Keylock has released the audio stream to coincide with his 16-date UK tour with Nashville blues-rock trio SIMO and British blues-rock guitar band Federal Charm, which gets underway at the Talking Heads in Southampton on 16th November.

Touring under the moniker of Planet Rock ROADSTARS – The Best In Breaking Blues And Rock’ – the tour promises to be one of the hottest live concert triple headers to hit the UK in 2016.  Every night each band will change headline spot, giving each of the artists an equal share of the limelight

Planet Rock Roadstars Tour Dates

SIMO, Aaron Keylock & Federal Charm

Book Tickets from The Gig Cartel – HERE

Wed 16th Nov Southampton, Talking Heads
Thu 17th Nov Brighton, The Haunt
Fri 18th Nov Cardiff, The Globe
Sat 19th Nov Leek, Foxlowe Arts Centre
Mon 21st Nov Nottingham, The Bodega Social Club
Tue 22nd Nov Wolverhampton, The Robin 2
Wed 23rd Nov Bristol, The Tunnels
Fri 25th Nov York, Fibbers
Sat 26 Nov Crewe, The Box
Sun 27th Nov Norwich, Waterfront
Mon 28th Nov Sheffield, The Greystones
Wed 30th Nov Newcastle, The Cluny
Thu 1st Dec Glasgow, O2 ABC
Fri 2nd Dec Edinburgh, The Mash House
Sat 3rd Dec Manchester, The Deaf Institute
Wed 7th Dec London, O2 Academy Islington

JD Simo Talking about Touring Albums Vinyl and more

JD Simo Talking about Touring Albums Vinyl and more
Photo Credit Charles Daughtry

JD Simo Talking about Touring Albums Vinyl and more

Bluesdoodles was delighted to have a chat with JD Simo once again, In February shortly after we reviewed the stunning album Let Love Show The Way read what we talked about then HERE.  Today we talk about vinyl the up and coming Roadstars tour throughout the UK,

BD: Hi JD. Good to have the opportunity to chat with you as you are about to hit Europe, we chatted about the album, influences and dream band.

JD Simo:  Thank you, remember talking to you earlier in the year not sure where I was now having couple days back home before heading on over to Europe.

BD: Now your surname and band name are creating lots of discussions about how it should be pronounced  so let’s start off the pronunciation of the name SIMO

JD Simo:  Well, it has to be good being talked about. The correct on is sI MoH where the I is dominant we answer to anything,  eventually as we become better known and more people see us live everyone will know  but until that day  all is good (laughing).

BD: Your current album Let Love Show The Way, Please the latest single is getting plenty of airplay. Tell our readers about deciding the tracks, writing the songs and opening with an Elmore James classic Stranger’s Blues.

JD Simo: While we were sequencing the record that track we all liked how it slowly builds up, it is not an abrupt beginning. Lots of bands start with an initial brash aggressive number but this for us was a nice way to start the record. More to do with the sound rather than the fact it was a cover or that particular song we didn’t want something abrupt as it were. As a group we put some thought into the order and which tracks to include we do this process as a collective talking about what assembly of tracks works, at the end we believed this sequence worked. Reality, nothing too exciting just a process we went through we do all the creative side and Mascot as the record label have very little involvement in what we produce. They leave us to do on creative end yes there is some correspondence but what you hear is the product of the band, it is SIMO.

BD: Like many you have released your latest album on vinyl, is this a niche or rising in appeal and will be expected by people as they continue to buy vinyl or is it a trend that will fade away?

JD Simo: I know that here in America vinyl is not a niche thing it is a pretty big thing with people especially my age group. Not sure what is happening in Europe & U.K. , sure we will find out when we are back touring over there very soon. Vinyl has become a big part of my generation who are true music fans not those who follow mainstream. It is how they buy their music whether new or old recordings. I grew up with vinyl it then went away in the nineties and then came back again. Let Love Show The Way, vinyl sales have been huge I have lost count the number of re-pressing of the album since its release. I do know we have sold more vinyl than other acts on Mascot record label and there have been occasions when we have sold out and the label has had to have them rushed to us on the road, Vinyl is the number one merch in terms of volume at our shows.  The reality is it depends on your preference. I collect vinyl and have a portable record player set up where ever I go definitely in the dressing room. Every town I visit I find local record stores it is integral part of my life releases in that format very important to me. Luckily the tide has turned I think vinyl is here to stay a while.

BD: Are there plans to record a follow-up album and how do you find time with your busy touring schedule to even think about let alone write new songs?

JD Simo: We have started work on next record actually started several months ago. We are doing the album in little phases. This is a different approach from previously and will be a different type of album putting it together over long period of time. We are about a quarter way through the process. When get back home before Christmas we will finish all the pre-production stuff. We have a space in the calendar January through February to finish the album. It is not difficult to find time to write as it happens, I write when the thought, idea hits me. That can be on a plane, in the van, dressing room or walking down the street.  This year SIMO have played well over 200 shows so finding the time for three of us to actually work out the material is problematic. As a group we need time to work out how each song is to be played, arranged, this takes time it can even take up a whole day. We have tried using the time in sound checks to try our new material and ideas, when we do this we are all open with each other. Contributing what we like don’t like, free to have heated discussions the trouble is at sound checks there are people around strangers, it just didn’t work  as the presence of people not involved in the process made us self-conscious, inhibiting the process. So finding the time for the three of us to set time aside has been difficult but we have found spaces sometimes a couple of days or longer break say ten days. Sometimes though you have a real break not have the pressure to work so we take couple days off then it is back the three of us working on the new material. We discuss together how to flesh out songs so that they are ready to be sent as a demo for our producers to review. At the end of the day I just love making music.

BD: SIMO have been around for five years? Let’s hear about the band how Adam Abrashoff and Elad Shapiro work around your attention grabbing guitar playing and vocals?

JD Simo:  Laughing, It may be one to ask Adam & Elad.  For me it works because it is very much that I have one vote of three, it makes perfect sense to use. The outcome of how it works if your readers come and see us play live it makes more sense then… (Bluesdoodles – you are in luck they are touring UK & Europe October – December – check out dates here) Plus  we all have role on and off stage, my responsibility may be a little bit more prominent interviews like this one,  singing but the three of us are all very equal in all the decision making like what playing that night… Very democratic, that can be difficult I can get frustrated as much as they can perhaps it is easier if the leader dictates and  rest band follows but that is not my way. We all have strong personalities, we fight and argue, we are like brothers we make up quickly and do not take it personally. We are like a dysfunctional family – all three guns a blazing all the time and most of the time there is a healthy balance. In end better way to be invested in common goal inevitably better that both the guys have a democratic input.

Silhouette Federal Charms Single Gets Airplay

 BD: As you mentioned when we talked earlier in the year, Simo is back touring Europe including extensive UK Tour with extended Planet Rock Tour – Roadstars tour with Federal Charm and Aaron Keylock. By the end of the tour and festival set at the sold-out Planet Rockstock SIMO will no longer be a stranger to blues lovers across the UK. With the promises of three exciting acts what plans have you got to get attention with your style of the blues.

JD Simo: Not met guys in Federal Charm yet, though we did meet Aaron very briefly at Ramblin’ Man Fair. Looking forward to our tour of U.K. So far we have only done random one-off gigs in UK; a couple shows in the North and press show and support in London then in the Summer some festivals. Now we have the opportunity to play at 16 venues and a spot at Planet Rockstock. We will actually get time to see your country and visit all corners of the U.K. The plan is to share the ninety-minute slot so some nights that will be Federal Charm and other night Aaron Keylock, on these occasions we will play a shorter set.  Every night we always play different songs so for people who come to multiple nights will see different shows from us. This is going to be a real opportunity to get to know the U.K. and meet a lot of fans, many will be seeing us for the first time.


BD: Normally I ask for your band but did that last time so this time I am interested in albums that have influenced/ delighted you as a musician. And the favourite at the moment?

Time was running short JD Simo is in demand we all want to talk about a band that brings excitement to the blues so his answer was an unequivocal –  Alabama Shakes Sound and Colour their latest album is my favourite hands down I just can’t get enough of the album.

So lets give them a huge British welcome and go see the band on tour with Federal Charm & Aaron Keylock.

Tickets will then go on sale to the general public on Friday 17th June via or from the 24 hour box office: 0844 478 0898.

ROADSTARS Touring November Breaking Rules

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Silhouette Federal Charms Single Gets Airplay

Silhouette Federal Charms Single Gets AirplaySilhouette Federal Charms Single Gets Airplay



Federal Charm stream new single “Silhouette” . The song features on their Across The Divide album, which launched last year via Wire Sound

Bluesdoodles chatted with Paul Bowe on 7th October the day Silhouette was released this is what he had to say —-BD: Do you have a favourite/ special track on the album? And why?
PB: My favourite has always and remains Silhouette. I love playing it live it gets to me more than anything else we play. The vocal production shapes the meaning of the words. The chorus works so well, every time I hear it or play Silhouette it gives me goose bumps. When I play the song live I hear what we were trying to achieve in the studio and look forward to playing it every night.

BD: This brings us neatly onto the single, Silhouette being released on 7th October what are your hopes for the single?
PB: I am obviously delighted that Silhouette is being released as a single showcasing Across The Divide and our music. What an opportunity with air play on Planet Rock and a video that is being made this Saturday exciting times.

Read the rest of the interview HERE

Listen to the single below. The band have issued the track to mark their upcoming UK tour with SIMO and Aaron Keylock, which is due to get underway at The Talking Heads in Southampton on November 16.

Silhouette is a track where Nicks vocals are full of power and have a forsaken quality as our two guitars lick up the blues with some gritty overtones. Read across The Dived Album Review HERE

For Tour Details checkout dates and Venues HERE

Silhouette Federal Charms Single Gets Airplay