Live Concert Photography: JD Simo at Rockwood Music Hall 1/24/19
JD Simo is a Chicago, IL-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter, guitar and bandleader, who can trace the origins of much of his music career to learning to play guitar when he was five. By the time he turned 15, Simo formed a band that released a live EP recorded in Phoenix, which sold 5,000 copies and helped him earn a strong following in the area — and throughout much of his teens, the Chicago-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter guitarist and bandleader spent touring as a solo artist and in a number of different bands.
In 2006, Simo relocated to Nashville, where he joined the Don Kelley Band as a lead guitarist and quickly became an in-demand session musician, which he continued to do while forming SIMO with Frank Swart (bass) and Adam Abrashoff (drums) in 2010. SIMO spent the bulk of the following year writing material and touring before releasing their full-length debut in November 2011.
By 2013, Simo, Swart, and Abrashoff started playing the national festival circuit with appearances at Mountain Jam and Bonnaroo. Building upon a growing national profile, the band made their first tour dates across the South in 2015 with opening slots for Gregg Allman, Deep Purple, Blackberry Smoke and Trigger Hippy. 2015 also saw the addition of Elad Shapiro — and Simo making an appearance at Les Paul‘s 100th birthday celebration in Paul’s birthplace, Waukesha, WI with Cheap Trick‘s Rick Nielsen, Greg Koch and others.
As a result of a their growing profile, the band signed with Mascot Label Group, who released their sophomore album 2016’s Let Love Show the Way, an album that debuted at #4 on the Billboard Blues Charts and received praise from from a number of national and internationally renowned media outlets including No Depression, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, Relix, Guitar World and NPR. Adding to a breakthrough year, the band was featured on NPR’s World Cafe and played their first national tour that year — and they made a number of appearances playing across the European festival circuit, including stops at Finland’s Puisto Blues Festival, the UK’s Cornbury Music Festival and Ramblin’ Man Fair, The Netherlands’ Bospop Festival, France’s The Guitarra Festival and Germany’s Burg Herzberg Festival.
The band’s third album, 2017’s Rise & Shine found the band leaning towards a psych soul sound and approach, as it was sonically inspired by Alabama Shakes‘ Sound and Color, Issac Hayes’ legendary Hot Buttered Soul and Funkadelic‘s Maggot Brain while lyrically the material was deeply autobiographical.
Simo made a a guest spot on Tommy Emmanuel‘s Accomplice One — and by early 2018, he went on a solo tour opening for Emmanuel with a rotating cast of friends that eventually led to the recording of his solo debut that August. Interestingly, 2018 saw Simo playing his first shows as a member of Phil Lesh and Friends, with Luther Dickinson and his brother Cody, John Medeski, The London Souls‘ Tash Neal and Grahame Lesh.
Simo’s self-co-produced full-length debut OFF AT 11 was released earlier this month, and throughout the bulk of this year, Simo with a backing band of longtime bandmate Adam Abrashoff (drums) and Andraleia Buch (bass) has been touring to support his solo debut with opening slots with The Allman Betts Band, as well as a set at Rockwood Music Hall earlier this year. Sonically, the material from the album meshes psych rock , classic blues, funk and soul in a way that brings Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, North Mississippi All Stars and others to mind. Check out the upcoming tour dates below, followed by pictures from the set below.
Apr 26, 2019 New Orleans, LA @ House Of Blues (Jazzfest)
Apr 27, 2019 North Little Rock, AR @ Pulaski Community College PAC
Apr 29, 2019 Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads
Apr 30, 2019 Iowa City, IA @ Englert Theater
May 1, 2019 Bloomington, IL @ Castle Theater
May 3, 2019 Memphis, TN @ Graceland Stage
May 6, 2019 Oklahoma City, OK @ Tower Theater
May 8, 2019 Lincoln, NE @Bourbon Theater
May 9, 2019 Salina, KS @ Stiefel Theatre
May 10, 2019 Dallas, TX @ Kessler Theater
May 11, 2019 Houston, TX @ Heights Theater
May 12, 2019 Austin, TX @ Mohawk
May 14, 2019 Lubbock, TX @ Cactus Theater
May 16, 2019 Tucson, AZ @ Fox Theater
May 17, 2019 Flagstaff, AZ @ Orpheum Theater
May 19, 2019 Chandler, AZ @ Chandler Center for the Arts