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Nashville blues rock trio Simo play Blind Bob’s

By Justin Kreitzer

Photo: Bassist Frank Swart of Simo will perform with the band on Jan. 23 at Blind Bob’s

Simo is a Nashville-based blues rock power trio led by the fancy fretwork of guitar wizard J.D. Simo and rounded out by the roaring rhythm section of bassist Frank Swart and drummer Adam Abrashoff. The band is currently on tour and is set to play in Dayton at Blind Bob’s on Friday, Jan. 23, along with locals Back Stabbath. The trio – named after their front man – creates a nostalgia-inducing retro, yet still slightly modern, sound that combines psychedelic garage rock and soulful blues with touches of fiery Hendrix-influenced funk and catchy ’60s pop melodies. Since their debut in 2011, the band quickly made a name for themselves with their explosive and highly energetic live show, which drips with pure rock ‘n’ roll fun and fury and is not to be missed. Simo also encourages audiotaping and trading at every one of their live performances, which has encouraged a fierce loyalty to the band among their fans, much like The Grateful Dead or Phish.

In anticipation of their upcoming performance, the Dayton City Paper spoke to the band’s namesake, J.D. Simo about his less obvious musical influences, their upcoming sophomore album, the future of the band and more.

While your music is very unique and original on it own, some of your more well-known influences such as Jimi Hendrix really shine through in your music; who or what are some of your least obvious musical influences?

J.D. Simo: Elvis was the reason I wanted a guitar at 4 years old. His guitarist Scotty Moore was a major influence on me and some of the first things I learned to play were his lines, like the solo from “Heartbreak Hotel.” Also Steve Cropper from Booker T and the MG’s. But I truly have a love for all types of music. I love Indian music, classical. I have a great love of Frank Sinatra and standards. If it’s good, I like it.

You have made quite a name for yourself in the jam band scene, playing at some of the larger outdoor festivals like Mountain Jam and Bonnaroo. What does playing a smaller venue like Blind Bob’s offer?

JS: All shows are the same in that I don’t think we play any different no matter what size the gig is. We love to play and the size of the gig is not very dependent on our output. However for the fan, it’s obviously a chance to see a band in a closer, more intimate setting where a connection might be easier to gain.

I, myself am a fan of the soulful Lenny Kravitz-like vocals, propulsive rhythm and crunchy guitars of the psychedelic-leaning track “AOH.” What is your favorite song to perform live and why?

JS: Thank you! Oh man, haha! Well, it changes night to night. I tend to like to improvise the most, so a song like “Accept” is something I tend to look forward to playing because it has a lot of improvisation in it. We usually have an immense song list prepared for a tour so we can vary set lists night to night and not repeat ourselves that much. That makes it fresh for us but also people who want to come see multiple shows on a tour will see a different show.

Your self-titled debut album was released in late 2011 to great praise. It has been a while; do you have plans to release any new music soon?

JS: Yes, we just finished a new album just a couple weeks ago and turned it in. It will be out here in early 2015. Creatively, we are never not writing. New material is always getting added to the pile. We have enough for three albums at this point! I am very proud of the new record and can’t wait for people to hear it!

Will you be playing any of those new songs in Dayton for us to hear?

JS: Absolutely!

What can new listeners of Simo expect from your live performance?

JS: Three guys who love to play. Playing is like breathing to us. We don’t have airs or any trips about what it should or shouldn’t be. We are there to share ourselves with the audience and experience some emotional release so the audience can hopefully do the same.

Simo will perform on Friday, Jan. 23 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Back Stabbath is also on the bill. For more information, please visit simo.fm.

Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Justin Kreitzer
Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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