Album Reviews


Let Love Show The Way

Artist:     Simo

Album:     Let Love Show The Way

Label:     Provogue

Release Date:     01/29/2016


He’s been hailed one of the best guitarists out of Nashville and lauded for his psych-rock tunes, garnering comparisons to respected talent like Jimmy Page and the Grateful Dead. The man behind the praise is JD Simo, a Chicago-born singer-songwriter and virtuoso guitarist. In 2010, he formed his eponymous Nashville-based band Simo with bassist Frank Swart (recently replaced by Elad Shapiro who now plays bass and offers backing vocals) and drummer Adam Abrashoff. Since their formation, Simo have toured extensively across the US and shared the stage with plenty of musical icons who share in their respect for the young blues-rock band. In January, Simo released their latest full-length project, Let Love Show The Way, recorded at The Allman Brothers’ former residence in Macon, GA, where frontman JD Simo even got to perform with Duane Allman’s 1957 Les Paul goldtop.

The record is bubbling with guitar genius and high-level energy, talent clearly influenced by The Allman Brothers’ jam-band rock ‘n roll. The album opens with a fiery blues-rock version of Elmore James’ “Stranger Blues” and is followed by “Two-Timin’ Woman”, which introduces us to Simo’s growling and extended guitar solos. Later, we hear an upbeat anthemic rock track with “Please” featuring a few rolling solos and woozy vocal dips, though it’s no match for “I’d Rather Die In Vain”, a psychedelic-twinged rock-fueled song exploding with thick rhythms and powerhouse vocals. The album’s title track “Let Love Show The Way” covers an impressive multitude of elements–grunge rock, blues, instrumental experimentation–beginning with a bluesy electric guitar distortion, making room for Simo’s unexpectedly smooth voice belting lyrics like “Throw it all away/Don’t listen to what they all say/Just close your eyes, it’ll all be okay/Just let love show the way” on a bed of fizzling rhythms and dramatic beats. Finally, the record comes together with a slow-going, soft cover of “Please Be With Me”, originally made famous by Duane Allman and Southern rock band Cowboy. Though it’s missing the fireworks and instrumental power of the rest of the album, the record’s finale is a gorgeous homage to one of Simo’s inspirations.

On Let Love Show The Way, JD Simo and the band launch instrumental explosions and old-school rock ‘n roll mixed with bluesy, woozy influences. The tracks on this album are dripping with sheer talent and an energy reserved for the big leagues–a place Simo are proving they’ll end up.

–Savannah Davanzo

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