This latest shoehorns J.D. Simo’s Nashville six-string virtuosity with the soulful blues phrasing of Chicago, and the heart-pounding adrenaline of rawk. Embedded within a raucous ’60s psychedelic gumbo, Simo summons copious amounts of intensity reminiscent of the best live Cream bootlegs.
This album is as much a visceral live performance as it is a recorded document of passionate singer-songwriter compositions. “I’d Rather Die In Vain” and the title track has the kind of supercharged guitar machinations that will make you seek out Simo’s touring schedule.
Obstreperous Marshalls, truculent 335s, and cantankerous wah tones are the backdrop for raw, fully realized vocal performances without self-awareness or caricature. Sweltering slide guitar appears throughout the album’s clear but gritty production to awesome affect.
Vibe-heavy overtones resonate, mesmerize, and feedback masterfully on the jammy Allman-esque “Ain’t Doin’ Nothin’,” while “Stranger Blues” – with it’s nod to the Doors – successfully preaches to the fire-and-brimstone pentatonic choir. “I Lied” is reminiscent of upper-echelon ’90s grunge riffage, effectively marrying traditional blues with that era’s fuzz-laden heaviosity.
The verdict? Let Love Show The Way is the best blues-rock album of the year.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’16 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.