Reviews Zone

JD Simo: Self-titled (Crows Feet Records) 21st August 2020



4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)



10 tracks – four of them co-writes with Adam Abrashoff and two he penned himself, plus four covers.

James Brown’s “Out Of Sight” and the song with maybe the longest single word title I have ever come across, “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic” written by Isaac Hayes and Alvertis Isbell, aka Stax Records legend Al Bell.

Willie Johnson’s “Soul Of A Man” and Earl Hooker’s “Anna Lee” make up the other half of the covers here.

Lots of power and energy, soulful meets raunchy vocals, and guitar nerds will risk premature jubilation (!) when they hear JD’s axe antics. Rock, r&B/soul, blues and psychedelia fans have plenty here to keep them happy.

JD’s fretboard skills will entice many to pay the admission price. They’ll not be disappointed. JD is te-riff-ic (see what I did there?). But his voice is equally as commanding and most of the material is very decent too.

This 34-year-old Chicago-born, Nashville-based singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer has nailed the balance, so there’s the light and shade needed between the rockers and the more restrained and subtler numbers.

He fronted the celebrated band SIMO and then went solo, with his 2019 album, “Off At 11″, making huge impact. His many starry collaborations include Jack White, Tommy Emmanuel, Luther Dickinson and Blackberry Smoke. Phil Lesh of The Grateful Dead invited D to join the rotating line-up of Phil Lesh and Friends.

Throughout 2019, JD maximised his time off the road to write this album. Returning home after playing more than 150 shows, he worked out of an eight-track studio in his house.

He then enlisted Eddie Spear to co-produce the album, recording it direct to tape in just three days during January 2020. The first time JD had worked with a producer, as he usually engineers and produces himself.

JD plays guitar, keyboards and takes lead vocals across the album, joined by bassist Andraleia Buch and drummer and percussionist Adam Abrashoff. Chemistry galore between the three. The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Eddie Spear.

Covering a James Brown song among the four covers song is perhaps quite apt ,considering JB was dubbed “the hardest working man in show business” – and JD ain’t no slouch, clocking up hundreds of gigs annually.

The singles “Love”, and “One Of Those Days”, are both featured here – excellent calling cards.

It is a fine piece of work and the songs are a solid vehicle for JD to do his thang, vocally and on guitar. He shows true versatility, but keeping his own sound in tact at all times.

As a guitar hero he is fully formed. As a solo artist and songwriter, he is more of  a ‘work in progress’, but has nicely developed his niche sound since the previous release.

Well on his way to long-term success, but paying his dues with hard graft – earning respect as he earns his stripes. Exciting times ahead…


By Simon Redley



1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’



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