Blues-rock phenom J.D. Simo and his band continue to push boundaries as they explore everything from slow-burn soul and psychedelia to greasy funk-blues that would make Albert King smile. This album also has a nice lo-fi audio, lending to sonic mystery of the proceedings.
“People Say” rides a low-down groove, the perfect setting for JD to rip on blues guitar in his earthy style. Sure, Simo can blaze, but he usually holds back, never overplaying or showing off – still, cue past the three-minute mark of “Meditation” to hear him scorch the fretboard at 150 mph, just briefly. Conversely, “I Want Love” starts with soulful double-stops from the Curtis Mayfield school, just sweet guitar licks and rich R&B vocals, but drops in some metallic stoner-rock sections to keep it edgy. Somehow, it all works perfectly.
“The Climb” fits right into the funky, stoner-rock vibe, giving JD plenty of room to howl at the moon with his guitar. His wild soloing here brings to mind everyone from Roy Buchanan to Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix, yet remains his own.
In all, this latest is evidence of a deep, maturing artist and overall monster guitarist.
This article originally appeared in VG January 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.