Photo | facebook.com/jdsimomusic
Band: J.D. Simo
Date: Saturday, Oct. 30 at 3:30 p.m.
Venue: Weeks Bay Plantation
After singer-songwriter Will Kimbrough opens the day with a homecoming set, the Fairhope Music Festival will welcome guitarist J.D. Simo to Weeks Bay Plantation. This Nashville artist will bring a round of fuzzy, raw rock ’n’ roll inspired by Hill Country blues and psychedelic rock. His passion for raunchy sounds is not only reflected in his music but also the production of his albums, such as his upcoming release, “Mind Control.” Simo thinks his old-school, unpolished approach to studio production is more spiritually honest than high-end recording methods.
“It turns me off,” Simo said. “If I’m at a concert and somebody comes up nonchalantly, not dressed to the nines without a lot of pomp and circumstance, and blows my mind, it’s more impressive to me than somebody all done up and hyped. It’s almost a punk rock aesthetic. So, blues or R&B or funk or the North Mississippi/Fat Possum [Records] stuff really appeals to me just as much as hip-hop or anything not adulterated and packaged for mass consumption.”
For the past three years, Simo has celebrated annual releases of new material. He said this was not a “grand plan” but an organic movement to fill downtime during the pandemic lockdown.
During that time, Simo said, he and his friends would gather each week and record an abundance of new material. He explained his new release, “Mind Control,” only represents a small amount of the music that was created during the pandemic lockdown. Now that he is back on the road, Simo has been enjoying performing his catalog. This major U.S. tour will bring him to Fairhope. He added that playing these jam-minded songs in the live environment has allowed them to “stretch” onstage.
“They’re [the songs] pretty loose,” Simo said. “So much of the framework of them is very influenced by Hill Country/Junior Kimbrough and a good portion of the beats are influenced by Fela Kuti and Tony Allen. Alan Abrashoff, who plays drums, is very into Afrobeat. With those two things, there’s a lot of room to breathe there, because a lot of those tunes are one-chord, droney kind of things.”
So far, Simo has released two singles from “Mind Control” to the public. “Know It All” and “That’s When You Know That You’re Down” are hypnotic blues sermons that pull from Hill Country greats such as R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. Whereas his previous self-titled release delved a bit into psychedelic rock, Simo said these singles are a reflection of the rest of “Mind Control.” He described the album in its entirety as “dark lyrically” and “talking about some heavy sh*t.”
Simo said his set at the Fairhope Music Festival will be a “fuzzy, psych good time.” He went on to explain each show is different. As far as the band’s setlist, they prefer not to use one in the performance. They prefer to keep it in the moment, which should be a unique musical experience for festival-goers.
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