Simo – Let Love Show The Way


Review by Allan Jones

Mascot Label Group 

Release Date: 29 January 2016

Visceral and raw are the first two words that tumble into my mind while listening to this album. With every track recorded live in one take at the legendary Big House in Macon, Georgia, it couldn’t fail to capture the energy that permeates this album. The story goes that the band only went there to record a couple of bonus tracks for a deluxe edition, but within 48 hours they’d completely abandoned that plan and used a stripped-down mobile recording unit to record the album completely.

Kicking off with a cover of Elmore James‘ ‘Stranger Blues’, the three piece outfit immediately start showing the reason that they’ve been championed by the like of Joe Bonamassa – groove, style, and a pair of wicked little guitar solos from singer/guitarist JD Simo kick things off in high gear. JD apparently plays Duane Allman‘s ’57 gold-top Les Paul on the album – and he certainly lives up to the list of guitarists who’ve done the same before him.

Of course, it’s not all purely about the guitarist – a good blues band needs a good rhythm section, and JD actually has something more than that in his band-mates Adam Abrashoff (drums) and Elad Shapiro (bass, backing vocals). They’re tight, and even when they’re all seemingly doing their own thing it just works.

So, what does it sound like? Well, it’s just like those classic blues-rock albums from the sixties and seventies. The relatively low-key production works fantastically well for the style, and I probably wouldn’t have blinked if you’d told me it was a forgotten album from that era. It’s raucous, lively, foot-tapping blues-rock, with hints of rhythm and blues and jazz. The guitar just wails and screams, the vocal hits that glorious classic rock tone, and the drum-and-bass thunder through and lay down a stomping groove. The songs vary from the near 10-minute ‘I’d Rather Die in Vain’ or the 14-minute ‘Ain’t Doin’ Nothin” which seem to be an excuse for the band to jam and improvise for the sheer hell of it down to the shorter and snappier ‘Two Timin’ Woman’ and ‘Can’t Say Her Name’ with riffs and hooks galore.

No matter what they play, though, you’re never bored listening to it. Picking out highlights is difficult, but ‘Long May You Sail’ is definitely one of them – phenomenal guitar work, and so much swagger you’d almost think the album should come with its own pair of leather trousers. The more I listen to the album, the more I love it.

9 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Stranger Blues
  2. Two Timin’ Woman
  3. Can’t Say Her Name
  4. I Lied
  5. Please
  6. Long May You Sail
  7. I’ll Always Be Around
  8. I’d Rather Die In Vain
  9. Today I Am Here
  10. Let Love Show The Way
  11. Ain’t Doin’ Nothin’
  12. Please Be With Me